Hello! Welcome to the White Sox Beat newsletter. Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.
My powers of perception, my prognostication prowess, seem to be on the fritz.
Here’s a minor example. In Sunday’s White Sox victory at Comerica Park, after Michael Kopech threw 69 pitches over four innings and finished by retiring seven straight Tigers, I suggested on Twitter the right-hander might return for the fifth. Manager Tony La Russa sent reliever Kyle Crick running in from the bullpen for the bottom of the inning.
I’m also the “expert” who gave you Gonzaga, Purdue, Arizona, and Iowa in the men’s basketball Final Four, with Arizona beating Purdue. I did pick Michigan to win three games in the NCAA Men’s Tournament, and they won two. So all is not totally lost.
I’m not giving up. Here are three predictions to bookmark so you can tell me in October, “Scott Merkin, you were, and you are, a psychic genius.” You can e-mail me if you prefer.
Tim Anderson wins the American League MVP
The difference Anderson makes was noticeable by watching his season debut Sunday following a two-game suspension to open the 2022 season in Detroit. He has a great understanding of his swing (more on that to come next week), and his presence is rightfully being recognized across the game.
“He’s as dangerous as any leadoff hitter in baseball,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said of Anderson. “It’s the energy he brings. It’s the bat-to-ball skills. It’s the threat at the very beginning. And kind of figuring out what he’s bringing to the game every game is tough.
“Is he going to be aggressive? Is he going to be patient? When he decides to swing, he puts the bat on the ball and puts pressure on you. It’s not easy to keep control of him at the plate or on the bases. It’s the reason he’s leading off, and it’s one of the better teams in the American League. Getting their sparkplug back, it changes their lineup.”
Detroit or Minnesota will make the playoffs
The White Sox remain decidedly the best team in the AL Central, but the division will be much improved. Good enough, in fact, where one of these teams will reach the postseason. I picked Detroit before the season started.
Blue Jays-White Sox ALCS
Talk about the highest of entertainment value.