What to make of Sox, Tigers run differentials

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What to make of Sox, Tigers run differentials

A mini-debate was started this week by FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal effectively dismissing Baltimore's run differential, which pegs the 51-44 Orioles to be well below .500. Allowing 439 runs while only scoring 395 doesn't have some people too confident in Baltimore's chances going forward, and with good cause.

But Rosenthal, in speaking to a few team officials from Baltimore, seemed to take the opinion that a few bad apples were spoiling the bunch -- i.e, the Orioles' run differential is so bad (the worst in the AL East) because of a few blowouts caused by poor starting pitching.

That's not an entirely wrong view, but Hardball Talk's Craig Calceterra points out that, for the Orioles to keep up their current pace both in terms of wins and run differential, it would be a historic outlier.

What does this have to do with the White Sox, though? As things stand on Monday, the White Sox have a better run differential than the Tigers, despite being 1 12 games out of first place. Detroit has scored 441 runs and allowed 420, while the Sox have scored 440 while allowing 401. That gives the Sox a 2 12-game advantage over Detroit in the expected win-loss category, which certainly seems like good news.

But, as expected when one team is on a five-game winning streak and the other a five-game losing streak, Detroit has moved closer to the White Sox in the last week. Since last Monday, Detroit has a 37-29 run differential, only marred by a 13-0 drubbing at the hands of the Angels on Tuesday. The White Sox in that same span have a 17-40 run differential.

So in the last week, Detroit is 8 runs, while the Sox are -23. These kind of things happen with the normal peaks and valleys of a full season.

The Sox are a better team than they've shown in the last week, and the smart money is on them eventually righting the ship. But the concern, though, is that Detroit is finally hitting their stride.

Since the start of July, Detroit is 13-4 with a run differential of 100-70. This run Detroit's on doesn't appear to be a mirage, like Baltimore's season can be viewed.

Just because Detroit appears to be who we thought they were doesn't mean the Sox should pack things up and won't ever be in first again this season. Far from it, and that doom-and-gloom attitude doesn't have much of a leg to stand on in late July.

But a sleeping giant has woken up, and the Sox have to buckle down and fight it.

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