A note for those of you reading: Mismatched Sox is a weekly blog hastily thrown together by Sox in the Basement Co-Host Ed Siebert and is written to present you with White Sox and baseball thoughts in a manner that, frankly, thinks it is funny in the way that you can only laugh through tears. While there will be facts here that will be factual, the opinions and other nonsense are neither reflective of anyone at SoxInTheBasement.com nor believed or intended to cause any harm, but consult a sad clown and ask if this blog is right for you.
Not to be too pessimistic, but the Sox seem to be in the Pit of Despair and having years of fans’ lives sucked away with every series that takes a step forward and a step or two back. They aren’t all dead, which if the team was all dead there is nothing left to do but go through the roster for loose outfielders. They may not even be mostly dead. But they are living to bluff, continually making everyone wonder if this season is a mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwich (where the mutton is lean and the tomatoes are ripe…so perky) or if this season needs a miracle pill.
Here are a few miracles to ponder. Chocolate coating makes it go down easier:
THE SAVING TRADE: This would really be a major miracle. This is the opposite of the 1997 White Flag Trade, a trade that turns the team around and sparks a winning campaign. Why is this a miracle? It doesn’t always work. Generally, teams that need to drop 3-4 cards from their 5-card stud hand aren’t going to win any chips. Most effective trades aren’t along the lines of what the Sox would purport to be doing, getting multiple relievers and another starter. In 1997, the Giants did that courtesy of the White Sox and saw Wilson Alvarez and Danny Darwin be fairly pedestrian down the stretch while Roberto Hernandez was good. It led to the Giants losing in the NLDS. Last year, the Sox grabbed a decent veteran reliever on a heater in Ryan Tepera for really nothing much at the moment. Tepera was among the Sox’ most reliable pitchers. By contrast, the splash of getting Craig Kimbrel was a disaster, and Cesar Hernandez was below bleh.
The teams that benefit the most at the trade deadline are one player away from feeling whole. The 2022 Sox are not that. Can Rick Hahn trade his way into a pennant? Inconceivable.
THE BIG WIN STREAK: Waiting. Waaaaiiting. Waiting! Fans have been waiting for the Sox to go on a run of, say, 10 wins in a row to get rid of the .500 stench that has surrounded the season and grab the AL Central lead. Well, on one hand, if you rush a miracle, you get rotten miracles. On the other hand, proverbially Buttercup is marrying Humperdink in little less than half an hour. There’s a lot to do in that timeframe, and the Sox need to get going on any win streak before the Twins or Guardians run away with it. Inconceivable? Hardly. Getting on a winning streak isn’t like getting into a land war in Asia. But this team seems hard pressed to get themselves started, unable to string victories together. Maybe it is time that they admit that they are not left-handed and start trying to win.
THE REVENGE BUSINESS: In “The Princess Bride,” Inigo Montoya spends his life trying to right a wrong, namely the needless death of his father over a matter of ego, basically. He spends his life chasing the memory of a six-fingered man. Jerry Reinsdorf has a little Inigo in him…at a young age in terms of his ownership he saw a Hall of Fame manager sacked over a matter of ego, basically. He’s been chasing his revenge ever since, and finally feels like he can get the six-fingered man, a championship with Tony LaRussa. But in the movie, Inigo found his prey, but still needed multiple feats of superhuman strength, master strategy from a genius tactician, plus a large cloak and a wheelbarrow. It isn’t enough to put Tony in the dugout, as the team is finding out; they still need tactics that seem missing and they need their stars to perform some major feats of strength to succeed. So far, they haven’t shown any signs that they know where to get a cloak and a wheelbarrow.
Will getting Tony to the promised land in a Sox uniform take a miracle? Not inconceivable, but a lot of things have to come together quickly and improbably, and other people might have to take a larger role.
THE FIRE SWAMP: “We won’t survive!” “You’re just saying that because no one ever has.” Metaphorically, the playoffs are a swamp filled with flames, quicksand, and rodents of unusual sizes. And the Sox haven’t survived the past two attempts. They also have never had a third consecutive run into the playoffs in their history.
The metaphor is getting mixed here, but if the past two years were taking on a deadly terror of the swamp, then the question is whether they’ll avoid those and survive the third. The three terrors of the playoffs? The Sox so far have fallen prey to them: watching their pitching fall short, failing to get clutch hits, and having their defense fail at key moments. A third crack at it is also slipping away for this year, but if they can develop a way to dodge the things that have killed them in the past two playoffs, they can live comfortably in The Fire Swamp for some time. And then other teams can visit them if they wish to die.
Will it take a miracle to get into the playoffs, and then win in the playoffs? Not really, but the team is going to need to be vigilant and ready at all times because there’s no room for error. To think, missing the playoffs going into this season was…inconceivable.
When it comes to miracles, there’s reason to believe in them. There’s reason to doubt them. And while rushing a miracle can lead to rotten miracles, they need to hurry. Fans are coming upon the cliffs of insanity awfully quick.
WHO HATH WIELDED THE STAFF OF CORK AND KERRY (this week)?
For the uninitiated, The Staff of Cork and Kerry refers not just to the people who work at the premiere place to pregame and post-game and otherwise celebrate Soxdom in the shadow of the ballpark and in Beverly, but it is also a mythical weapon that can smite thine enemies faster than they can say “as you wish”.
So which White Sox was worthy enough to wield the Staff of Cork and Kerry and would make a wonderful Dread Pirate Roberts? Andrew Vaughn bracketed the All-Star break with a .324 AVG and .971 OPS, but Dylan Cease. The staff ace has a 0.85 WHIP and 0.00 ERA in his last two starts, with 12 K’s being somewhat muted for him, as he’s now just behind Corbin Burnes for the MLB lead, but still leads the AL in strikeouts. Should have been an All-Star too.
Dylan Cease, you have successfully wielded this mighty weapon of lore. Actually, jeez…he wields both the Mustache of Menace and the Staff of Cork and Kerry…inconceivable.
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Featured Image: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports