Friday, April 15, 2005

Trouble Finishing Sweeps

For the third series in a row, the White Sox went for a sweep of the opposition and lost last night. El Duque pitched poorly, and despite 12 hits and a phenomenally impressive three walks (increasing the season total by 30% in one fell swoop), the Sox managed to plate just 6 runs, 3 coming on Paul Konerko's three run bomb in the third inning.

The failure to sweep the Jndjans made me recall, anecdotally, that the Sox have had trouble sweeping teams when they had won the first two games of the series in recent years. I seem to recall being disappointed by the failure to sweep a number of times.

My theory would be that the Sox should have at least a .500 record in the third game of a three-game sweep over the last few years, roughly matching their season records since 2002. Anything way below .500 would indicate that they've had trouble
closing the deal. I expected the Sox to have a .400 or so record in those games.

I was wrong. In fact, the Sox have performed right about at the .500 level from 2002-2004. In 2002, they went 4-7 when going for the three game sweep, which was balanced by a 6-4 record in 2003. In 2004 - and this shocked me - they actually went 4-1 in the third games of series when they had won the first two games. This year's 0-3 only set them back to a 14-15 record overall, which is pretty close to .500.

So, I do not think that the Sox fail to have a killer instinct or let down when they have already won a series. It's just another problem of selective memory and small sample size.

Here's to winning all three against
Seattle. The pitching matchups are there, the home cooking is there, and the hitting woke up a little bit in the last two nights. Let's get all three from the Mariners. If not, 2 out of 3 ain't so bad.

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