Good morning, frents!
And welcome to a huge Victory Monday on the South Side.
After a series-opening loss to the Astros on Friday, the White Sox responded with two of their biggest victories of the season:
- A 10-1 trouncing on Saturday complete with a Lucas Giolito complete-game three-hitter and the return of a thundering "Na Na Na Na" sendoff for an opposing pitcher. (Sorry not sorry, Jake Odorizzi.)
- A well-oiled 4-0 win on Sunday featuring seven innings one hit and 10 strikeouts from Carlos Rodon and then two perfect innings from Michael Kopech and Liam Hendriks. If you're keeping score at home, that's only four hits allowed over two games to Houston's high-powered offense.
So, yeah, there's a lot for the announced total of 102,968 fans who rocked Sox Park this weekend to be excited about.
The vibes are so good, in fact, that I'm just going to lean in and ask a debate question to start our week off with some fun.
Can the Sox reach 100 wins this season?
Sunday's win moved the team's record to 56-36 with 70 games remaining. Their .609 winning percentage is the best in the American League and puts them on pace to win either 98 or 99 games.
Not bad for an injured team that Baseball Prospectus projections put down for third place and 83 wins back in February.
Only one team in franchise history has ever reached triple digits — the 1917 World Series champion squad that won an even 100 and needed just 154 games to do it. The beloved 1983 and 2005 teams both fell one win shy with 99 while the two other division winners clocked in at 95 (2000) and 94 (1993).
Where might the 2021 squad land?
I think most people would agree you could bet handsomely on under 100 and feel pretty good about it. The Sox will play 38 of their final 70 games away from the South Side and are currently just two games over .500 (23-21) on the road.
They also likely won't be pushed to the end by anyone in the AL Central. Every game counts in the race to that big round number and the Sox could be resting starters and arranging the rotation by late September.
But like I said, it's all good vibes today ...
So here are three reasons the Sox could hit 100 wins:
- They still haven't fielded their best team: Eloy Jimenez is coming back soon. So is Luis Robert and whoever they'll trade for over the next 11 days. If you can win at a .609 clip by using a merry-go-round of random outfielders for the first two-thirds of a season, what happens when you get core members back for the last third?
- There are still a lot of bums left to slay: One of the big concerns about this team remains their 18-25 mark against above .500 teams. But they're a ridiculous 38-11 against teams with .500 or worse records and they still have 46 games against teams matching that description. Win 7 out of every 10 against losing teams and the Sox could go .500 in the 24 games against winning teams to hit 100. That's probably not a stretch given the team's pitching and the fact that the under .500 teams should only weaken themselves further by the trade deadline.
- This team just keeps surprising us: Yeah, I'm going to hit the intangibles button here. There's really no reason we should even be having this discussion given the hurdles that have been thrown the Sox's way so far. And yet here they are having overcome injury after injury, an early rough patch with Tony La Russa (which seems to have ironed itself out a bit) and the Adam Eaton experience. They've been at the top of the league for almost the entire season and it's hard to imagine they'll come down any time soon.
Next: The Sox host the Twins for a doubleheader. Lance Lynn (9-3, 1.99) gets the ball in Game 1 against Griffin Jax (1-1, 8.66). It'll be his first start since signing a two-year, $38 million extension over the weekend.
La Russa hasn't announced a starter against Jose Berrios (7-3, 3.48) in Game 2, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see old friend Reynaldo Lopez.
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In what year did the Sox win 98 games and miss the playoffs?
Sox 4, Astros 0
D-Backs 6, Cubs 4
Red Stars 3, OL Reign 1
Twins at Sox* (4:10, NBCSCH)
Cubs at Cardinals (7:15, Marquee)
News and results
D-Backs 6, Cubs 4: No room for brooms
Despite winning the series' first two games, the Cubs couldn't close out the worst team in baseball. The Brewers, meanwhile, swept the Reds in Cincinnati, ending any far-fetched hope the Cubs could make things a bit more interesting by the trading deadline. They're nine back of MIlwaukee.
- No worries, though: The team claimed first baseman Frank Schwindel off waivers from Oakland.
Next: The Cubs hit St. Louis for four against the Cardinals, who hold an identical 46-47 record. Alec Milles (4-2, 4.84) gets today's start against Jake Woolford (1-1, 4.62).
The Bulls guard was once again in Team USA's starting lineup for its final exhibition game before heading to Tokyo. It's hard to imagine he won't stick there once the squad arrives in Japan, too. LaVine scored 13 points in 22 minutes, shooting 5-of-8 from the field and 3-of-5 from behind the arc in a win over Spain.
He also turned in an alley oop from KD that was worthy of a newsletter GIF and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to two more weeks of posting these.
Did you ever grab your sibling's hand, make them punch their own face and then say "why are you hitting yourself?" Yeah, the Red Stars are pretty good at that, too. They forced the OL Reign into two own goals on Sunday for a 3-1 win. They've forced a total of five own goals this season, setting a NWSL record just 11 matches into the season.
- Justin Fields' youth football camp in Ohio turned into a media event of sorts. Eight more days until the team reports to camp. CBS Sports
- Matt Moore thinks the Bulls will be big spenders this offseason and introduces the name Kyle Lowry to the team's rumor mill. Action Network
- Jim Margalus says the Lance Lynn extension shows the Sox can sell themselves as a destination. Sox Machine
- The biggest surprise on the Blackhawks unprotected list for the expansion draft is Nikita Zadorov. Sun-Times
- Space Jam 2 got a Michael Jordan cameo, but not that Michael Jordan. Insider