The Chicago White Sox are terrible. Like, they’re really bad. At present, they are 30-60 and saying that they’re trying to be better than that would probably constitute false advertising. They have a bunch of acclaimed prospects, some of whom (second baseman Yoan Moncado and starting pitcher Lucas Giolito) are currently in the Majors, but most of whom are not. They are perhaps the exact embodiment of a tanking team.
I am terrified of them for reasons totally unrelated to their current awfulness.
June 2006 was a crazy time in America. We were just a few naive weeks away from Nelly Furtado’s inexplicable six-week run atop the Billboard Hot 100 with “Promiscuous”, keeping Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” from its deserved spot atop the chart (I have a friend who twelve years later will occasionally remind me of this fact purely to irritate me, and it always works). In Germany, the United States Men’s National Soccer team was on the outside looking in in the World Cup’s “Group of Death”, in which the team squared off against the eventual champions (Italy), the world’s best goalkeeper (Czech Republic’s appropriately named Petr Cech), and burgeoning African superpower Ghana. I was in a cramped cabin at the Lake of the Ozarks, trying to maintain attention on the St. Louis Cardinals, fresh off two consecutive 100-win seasons. And the Cardinals played the Chicago White Sox.
At 42-27, the Cardinals looked once again poised to win the NL Central. If they finished just one game above .500 for the rest of the season, which seemed like a formality, they would win 90 games. Everything was set. Yes, the Chicago White Sox were defending World Series champions, and themselves a good team (45-25) with home field advantage, but the Cardinals held their heads high. Albert Pujols would begin the series on the Disabled List, but they still had the remainder of the MV3 in Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen.
On June 20, in the first game of the series, Mark Mulder pitched. He hadn’t quite lived up to expectations since being acquired before the 2005 season from the Oakland Athletics, but he was still Mark Mulder and this was still a good name to have going. And things started out well for the Cardinals, with the team holding a 1-0 lead entering the bottom of the third. And then…it happened. The White Sox scored 11 runs. Not to be outdone, the sixth inning version of the White Sox also managed six. All in all, the Chicago White Sox scored 20 runs that game, winning 20-6.
The next day, the Cardinals sought revenge. And instead of losing by 14 runs, they lost by eight. In the first two frames, the Cardinals scored one and two runs, respectively, The White Sox scored four and five. Sacrificial lamb Jason Marquis (the bullpen was understandably quite spent from the night before) went five innings and allowed thirteen earned runs. The Cardinals lost 13-5.
The next night, I didn’t even watch. I was entirely too deflated to bother. In this particular game, though, starter Anthony Reyes showed up, allowing just one hit in eight innings, while walking zero and striking out six. Unfortunately, said hit was a home run off the bat of Jim Thome, and Anthony Reyes was the only player to show up for the Cardinals that night. The Cardinals lost 1-0.
The Cardinals season eventually spiraled a bit out of control. Players were hurt. Other players disappointed. And eventually, the team only won 83 games. By comparison to the 105 and 100 wins of the two previous seasons, the 2006 season was a disaster.
And then they won the World Series because baseball is stupid and Cardinals fans are unbearably spoiled. Go figure.
Anyway, in 2006, the team with a left fielder named Ozuna won all three games of the series, so I shouldn’t worry. Here are the pitching matchups for this week’s two-game set. Both games start at 7:10 p.m. Central at
Comiskey Park U.S. Cellular Field Guaranteed Rate Field (wait, THAT’S the name of it these days?). In my opinion, the game tonight should be a mortal lock, and the game on Wednesday is more up in the air, but also I’m consistently wrong and shouldn’t be trusted. Watch the games instead.
July 10: Miles Mikolas (9-3, 2.63 ERA) vs. Dylan Covey (3-4, 5.54 ERA)
July 11: Luke Weaver (5-7, 4.92 ERA) vs. Carlos Rodon (1-3, 4.29 ERA)