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  #1  
Old 10-03-2012, 09:30 PM
Lip Man 1 Lip Man 1 is offline
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Default Second Half Blues

Folks:

This is not a one year fluke, it's not a two year coincidence...it's a trend...and it's killing this franchise because of how it impacts everything from off season sales, to team payroll to potential advertising and marketing opportunities...and it's been going on for the past 10 years.

It's been discussed at WSI, the "second half blues" this organization suffers on the field almost every year since 2003.

Because of the characture limitations on the message boards, I'm going to post this in three parts. I should have everything up in about 20 minutes.

If you could refrain from comment until I can post the three parts back to back to back, I'd appreciate it. Then feel free to do what you will.

Part 1 (Overview)

--------------------------------

Once again the White Sox have found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of post season victory. Again they collapsed down the stretch and in doing so wasted a golden opportunity to play in October.

This is something that has been occurring on a regular basis since 2003… playing worse down the stretch than earlier in the season or going through a 10 day / two week collapse and wasting postseason playoff spots.

The White Sox have wasted more chances to make the post season since the new century began, than they have actually made the postseason. That is embarrassing. It is making a fan base already upset about things even more combustible. It has got to be impacting ticket sales and ultimately team payroll.

I’ve attached some numbers for your consideration. I’m frankly shocked that no one seems to be making an issue out of this and asking the million dollar question, why is this continually happening?

I call it “the second half blues…” It is happening on a regular basis however you define ‘second half.’ Be it an equal division between 162 games or games played after the All Star Break.

I don’t have an answer for it, I wish I did, I’d send it to the Sox. JB might have hit upon the answer. I'm paraphrasing his reply.

“The Sox usually have pretty good players in the top half of the roster every year. What kill them are the bottom third, guys 16 through 25. When the regulars need a break, if they are injured seriously or to the point where they have to miss only three or four games, if they are in a slump… whatever reason when the Sox have to replace them, the guys they use to fill in simply aren’t major league caliber. At bats, innings, are going to guys who can’t cut it. That results in games lost and eventually enough games to be sitting at home in October. They have top heavy rosters with little to no depth.”

I think JB makes a valid point. Just look at this past September. On at least two occasions the Sox had either the tying or winning run at the plate in the 9th inning with two out. Who was hitting in those situations? Who was the ‘last hope?’ Orlando Hudson and Jose Lopez.

The question is why?

If you divide up the season into equal parts, the numbers from 2003 to 2012 show that the Sox played at a worse win percentage in games 82-162 as opposed to games 1-81 in six out of the 10 years. They played better in the second half three times and had the exact same numbers in both halves one time.

If you divide up the season into before and after the All Star break, the numbers from 2003 to 2012 show that the Sox played at a worse win percentage after the All Star break as compared to before it in eight out of the 10 years. In the crucial part of the season when games become more meaningful because there aren’t as many left the Sox can’t seem to get it done! They played better in the second half twice under these parameters, that’s it!

(Part II History is coming right up...)

Lip
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:33 PM
Lip Man 1 Lip Man 1 is offline
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Part II History...

Now how did this impact potential playoff chances?

2003 – The Sox would play by far their best baseball in the second half over the next 10 years this season. However keep in mind the Sox led the Twins by two games with 18 left to play. They’d finish 8-10 over those games including five straight losses to the Twinswhich handed them the division (and got Jerry Manuel fired).

2004 – The Sox played worse in the second half under both scenarios however it’s hard to be to critical of the team that year even though they had a slim lead at the All Star Break. No team in baseball could have withstood the loss of its top two hitters right in the middle of the lineup. The Sox lost both Magglio Ordonez and Frank Thomas to season ending injuries.

2005 – The Sox had such an incredible start in the first half that it was almost impossible to play any better in the second half. They survived one of the hottest stretches in baseball history (by the Indians over two months) to hold them off, win the division and roar through the playoffs to the World Series title.

2006 – The defending champions looked loaded and ready for a repeat. They were one of the best teams in baseball in the first half, won a 19 inning game with Boston right before the All Star break…and then…fell apart in the second half. They opened the second half losing 10 of 12 and it was downhill from there. If the Sox play .500 baseball in the second half, they finish with 94 wins and are right there for a playoff spot.

2007 – The worst Sox team in almost 20 years had no chance at all regardless of half or how you divided it up.

2008 – Yes the Sox made the playoffs, but it took 163 games to do so and it came to that because the Sox lost eight of 10 including three straight at Minnesota before rebounding to win three in a row against three different opponents to claim the division by one game. And if the Twins hadn’t lost two of three the final weekend to K.C. the Sox never would have gotten the chance for the “black out” game. Even winning the division the way they did came at a price. The starting rotation was completely messed up and gassed in the opening round against Tampa, all because the Sox couldn’t make things easier on themselves by winning a few more games at the end.

2009 – Mark Buehrle had just thrown a perfect game in late July and moved the Sox into first place. The Sox then went to Detroit, lost three in a row and never recovered. Again they finish with worse numbers in the second half. A few more wins, against Detroit or Minnesota in a very mediocre division and who knows what could have happened.

2010 – A late stretch that saw the Sox win nine of the last 11 games gave them a better winning percentage in the second half than in the first; however look closer at some things. On August 8, the Sox had a slim lead in the division…and promptly lost 10 of the next 14. They compounded that by losing eight in a row starting on September 14. They won 88 games even with those terrible stretches…what happens if they play .500 baseball over those 22 games combined? If they win 11 out of 22 instead of four…what happens? You know the answer.

2011 – “All In” was “all out and dead” that season. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a more dead team, dead fans and a manager who had already checked out before the season even started in Sox history. They had no chance although matters weren’t helped when the Sox came into a series with Detroit at home having closed the gap with one last chance to make a run…and Ozzie picked that day to complain about his contract and the money he was making. Yes the Sox immediately tanked again, although it was hard to blame the players.

2012 – Perhaps the worst collapse since 1967, certainly right up there with 2003. The Sox had won five straight and led Detroit by three games with 15 to play. The Sox then promptly collapsed…the offense disappeared, clutch hits were non-existent as were wins. They blew the chance to get to the post season again because of a crucial stretch that saw them lose 10 of 12.

So the scorecard shows that three seasons (2003, 2006 and 2012) saw almost guaranteed postseason berths flushed down the toilet because of terrible stretches in the second half. The scorecard also shows had the Sox played better at crucial times in 2009 and 2010 in the second half it was certainly possible they could have gone to the playoffs those years as well.

How much different would this franchise look if they had made the postseason say six or seven times in 13 years instead of three? What if they had, for the first time in franchise history, made the postseason in consecutive years? Think the media and fans would have been talking about “Sox attendance issues”?

Part III Numbers coming right up...

Lip
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  #3  
Old 10-03-2012, 09:37 PM
Lip Man 1 Lip Man 1 is offline
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Part III By the Numbers...(I apologize that they don't completely line up properly)

Red means the win percentage was worse than the first set of numbers.

Green means the win percentage was better than the first set of numbers.

2003:
Games 1-81: 39-42 .481
Games 82-162: 47-34 .580

Before All Star Break: 45-49 .478
After All Star Break: 41-27 .602

2004:
Games 1-81: 43-38 .530
Games 82-162: 40-41 .493

Before All Star Break: 46-38 .547
After All Star Break: 37-41 .474

2005:
Games 1-81: 55-26 .679
Games 82-162: 44-37 .543

Before All Star Break: 57-29 .662
After All Star Break: 42-34 .552

2006:
Games 1-81: 53-28 .654
Games 82-162: 37-44 .456

Before All Star Break: 57-31 .647
After All Star Break: 33-41 .445

2007:
Games 1-81: 36-45 .444
Games 82-162: 36-45 .444

Before All Star Break: 39-47 .453
After All Star Break: 33-43 .434

2008:
Games 1-81: 45-36 .555
Games 82-163: 44-38 .536

Before All Star Break: 54-41 .568
After All Star Break: 35-33 .514

2009:
Games 1-81: 42-39 .518
Games 82-162: 37-44 .456

Before All Star Break: 45-43 .511
After All Star Break: 34-40 .459

2010:
Games 1-81: 43-38 .530
Games 82-162: 45-36 .555

Before All Star Break: 49-38 .563
After All Star Break: 39-36 .520

2011:
Games 1-81: 39-42 .481
Games 82-162: 40-41 .493

Before All Star Break: 44-48 .478
After All Star Break: 35-35 .500

2012:
Games 1-81: 44-37 .543
Games 82-162: 41-40 .506

Before All Star Break: 47-38 .552
After All Star Break: 38-39 .493

That's all I've got, feel free to discuss, comment...whatever you wish

Lip
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  #4  
Old 10-03-2012, 10:05 PM
DSpivack DSpivack is offline
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It's a fluke of statistics, nothing more.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:09 PM
cub killer cub killer is offline
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I went into the WSI archives to search the 2003 2nd half game threads, but there are no game threads until 2004.

Did this site never do any game threads until 2004? Or are they located somewhere else?
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:13 PM
sachin sachin is offline
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Not trying to bust on you, but you just wrote 3 major pages on how the White Sox are lousy in the 2nd half, complete with delineated statistics over nearly 10 years.

Ok, so what? They seem to have bad luck or run out of gas. So do a lot of teams. Big whoop... Not exactly earthshaking news or something to really get all outraged over.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:14 PM
soxfan21 soxfan21 is offline
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Very good research Lip. As you stated, if we made the playoffs 6 or 7 times in the last 13 years I don't think that there would be attendance issues, and it would be nice to have a team that would have been a division contender every year. Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be, and I am afraid that if this trend keeps up and we don't make the playoffs in the next year or two we can see attendance dip to the way it was in the early 2000's.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:17 PM
Frater Perdurabo Frater Perdurabo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSpivack View Post
It's a fluke of statistics, nothing more.
I disagree. I think it's a function of a shallow roster, which is a function of this organization's long-term refusal to pay for top amateur talent in the draft, inability to develop fundamentally sound position players, and thus necessity to trade its limited supply of promising prospects to fill holes with mediocre and/or expensive veterans.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:19 PM
sachin sachin is offline
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Why not write something like "What If the White Sox drafted Derek Jeter?" and speculate how great attendance would be, how many titles the Sox would've won, etc. It didn't happen, so it seems like nothing but a moot argument.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:35 PM
WhiteSox5187 WhiteSox5187 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frater Perdurabo View Post
I disagree. I think it's a function of a shallow roster, which is a function of this organization's long-term refusal to pay for top amateur talent in the draft, inability to develop fundamentally sound position players, and thus necessity to trade its limited supply of promising prospects to fill holes with mediocre and/or expensive veterans.
I think that has been the trend of late, but in 2004 it was a result of losing Maggs and Frank, in 2006 it was the fact that the starting pitchers were gassed, 2007 sucked and in 2008 the loss of Contreras, Crede and Quentin was hard to swallow. But as you pointed out, the fact that there was ZERO help from the farm made those losses much harder to take and as someone else mentioned, every team has to deal with injuries.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:57 PM
Lip Man 1 Lip Man 1 is offline
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Spivak: A fluke doesn't last 10 years does it?

Sachin: Those "other" teams don't do it three or four times in 10 years costing them postseason playoff spots. (If so maybe you can research and point out whom, not trying to bust your chops either...) Plus those "other" teams don't have the Sox attendence issues do they, which aren't being helped by giving away playoff chances on a regular basis.

"Luck is the residue of design..." -- Branch Rickey

5187: True injuries happen to everyone, others seem to survive it better than the Sox. The Yankees are a great example this season (there are others). There has to be a reason for it.

Lip
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:57 PM
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Daver Daver is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cub killer View Post
I went into the WSI archives to search the 2003 2nd half game threads, but there are no game threads until 2004.

Did this site never do any game threads until 2004? Or are they located somewhere else?
Prior to 2004 the chat room was used more, but membership grew to the point that the chat just wouldn't work anymore, so we started the game threads instead.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:08 PM
kittle42 kittle42 is offline
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6/10 by halves isn't statistically significant.

8/10 is, but aside from the farm being ****, there is no real correlation. Each team really had different issues.

Also, Lip, though I appreciate the effort and time it took, these stats really are incomplete without a comparison to other franchises. Your posts comparing playoff appearances over the past 30 years was more meaningful.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:17 PM
shingo10 shingo10 is offline
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The bottom line is that the Sox do not finish seasons. They just don't and you can say that all the stats don't mean anything but obviously they do...because seemingly every year at this time we are having a similar discussion.

So now what is the solution? They have GOT to try to do something to correct this. If they are breaking down and becoming tired then there should be a way to remedy this...I know many have said a better bench would help but in 2006 they had a pretty good bench and it still made no difference. More rest for pitchers?

Part of the problem of the last few years (excluding this year) were the awful starts they would have to the season. Then they'd have to go on an exhausting run just to get to .500 and fade away.

Maybe its simply a mindset akin to the Metrodome or Johan Santana or the Royals...
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:20 PM
Lip Man 1 Lip Man 1 is offline
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Kittle:

Sorry I can only do so much. If anybody else feels they can take that on, I'm willing to help them but I suspect it would require going over, day by day, for every other team in the majors to see if they blew postseason chances.

I don't know how it's possible to do that.

What I do know is that the Sox keep giving away chances and it's biting them in the ass.

Honestly I don't need to know if the Mariners did it and if so how many times or the Blue Jays or the Orioles... because that doesn't impact the Sox financially and their fans does it?

To me, just because the Sox do it 'less' (for discussion purposes-- I have no idea if that's true...) doesn't mean it doesn't have a significant impact given the other related issues.

Lip
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