It’s always hard to gauge where the Chicago White Sox will end up at the end of any given season. They go through violent stages every season where they go from looking solid to really bad to just awful and then follow it up by being dominating tyrants in the American League. You can never place your finger on the pulse of the Sox because it’s always all over the place. But in 2013, Chicago is hoping to break through for manager Robin Ventura and reclaim their place atop the AL Central.
There will be a lot going on for the Sox in 2013, from a rotation that has the ability to be a menace as much as it has the possibility to struggle and a lineup that represents the same thing. One of the biggest stories to follow is that of White Sox legend Paul Konerko, who is likely entering his final season as a ballplayer. Even rivals have grown to respect Konerko and his farewell tour is going to be a spectacle, but hopefully for Sox fans it’s a sideshow due to the fact that Chicago is tearing through the league.
Best Case Scenario
The best case would be that Konerko’s season ends in the postseason. The Sox still don’t have the complete tools to make a legitimate World Series run, but if they heat up over the summer at the right time (because one AL Central team always does), they have a real chance of making the playoffs. The only real opponent in the division is Detroit, and every game between the two will be great, but if the Tigers slump, the Sox can make a real run in the Central and eventually the postseason.
Worst Case Scenario
The infield plays atrociously for the White Sox both in the field and on the bases which forces the team to cycle through players all season long trying to plug in guys that fit. Paul Konerko is really the only guy who is safe here but he’s long past the days of being able to carry the infield on his own and he’ll need the younger guys like Alexi Ramirez and Gordon Beckham to shape up and truly come into their own. The Sox struggle, are overtaken by first the Royals and then the Twins an finish as a middle of the pack club with more questions than they want to answer heading into 2014.
Most Likely To Happen
The best case and most likely case are very similar to one another. Jake Peavy and Chris Sale need to be on the top of their game for most of the season, and the Sox should manage to enter August with a reasonable chance of at least finishing with a wild card spot. The lineup is more than capable of providing run support to the other starters as well, and while they’ll get into some real brawls, the Sox have the swagger and skill to come out ahead in most ballgames. The real trick is hoping the Tigers slump, and making sure the Sox don’t slump at the same time and make up serious ground on Detroit late in the summer.
Each year the Sox look like a middle of the pack team, and more often than not they find a way to surprise people when it matters most. No one thought they’d contend last year and they did, and this season the team has matured and grown together in the process. There’s not guarantee that the Sox will contend again, but if they play Southside baseball well this summer, they’re going to be right back in it again come September.