No team has messed around as much as the Chicago White Sox. You name it, and they’ve done it: black, white, red, blue, classic, modern, pinstriped, plain. There has been a lot of bad in there, no question, but a lot of good too.
The Best: Chicago more or less had it together before the mid 1970s, and have more or less had it together since the early 90s. I may be in the minority in really liking their red and white pinstriped look. I mean, this looks good, doesn’t it? And I’m open to the suggestion that no team ever looked better in light blue road uniforms than the mid-60s Sox did. Still, I have to admit that the Sox look best in black and white.
The Worst. You think I’m gonna go with the obvious choice, don’t you? Well, I’m not. Why? Because they only wore the shorts for one half of a double header, so it’s not like it was a usual thing. Obviously awful — and how were they supposed to slide in those things? — but it would be unfair to the many, many other bad looks the Sox have sported over the years to pick that one. I mean really, that big baggy look they normally wore during the late 70s was plenty awful even in the long pants version. But for my money they’re not the worst. My choice? The doubleknits they rocked in the early 80s. Just hideous, really, and that would be the case even if they never tried to stuff Greg Luzinski in them. I mean, at least he looked moderately comfortable when they let him wear his shirt un-tucked.
Assessment: I know the White Sox are the poster children for awful uniform choices, but none of their looks — even the shorts — were as bad as a team I’m going to mention tomorrow. Because for as aesthetically un-pleasing as the White Sox could often be, at least they were trying interesting things out of a sense of whimsy or adventure.
The book heading into the series was that the Dodgers’ starters needed to come up big for them due to questions in the bullpen and that the Brewers’ bullpen was going to dominate Dodgers batters, so they had best do what they can to score off of Milwaukee’s starters. So, of course, the Dodgers starters turned in performances of three and four and a third innings and eight of their nine runs the Brewers have given up have come from their relievers. I dunno, man. It’s baseball. It lends itself to anticipatory analysis worse than any other sport.
All I do know for sure is that this series has been as close as it gets so far, with each game being decided by a run and the outcome being determined late. The first two games have given me a sense that the teams are just feeling each other out and that the next three, in Los Angeles, will provide a bit more coherence to all of this. Not that there isn’t something a bit fun about incoherence when it comes to a playoff series.
Your viewing guide:
NLCS Game 3
Brewers vs. Dodgers
Ballpark: Dodger Stadium
Time: 7:39 PM Eastern
Pitchers: Jhoulys Chacin vs Walker Buehler
Jhoulys Chacin had an excellent NLDS start against the Colorado Rockies, turning in five scoreless innings. If he does something approaching that tonight the Brewers will be in pretty good shape given that Josh Hader — who pitched three shutdown innings in Game one — is available again tonight. To the extent Craig Counsell needs to dig more deeply into his reliever corps, however, things could get dicey. Corbin Burnes, Jeremy Jeffress, Corey Knebel and Joakim Soria have combined to allow seven earned runs in four innings. Brandon Woodruff, who has been dominant thus far, throwing five scoreless innings, stands a good chance of being the opener for Game 4, so Counsell will likely try to keep him off the mound tonight. That puts a decent amount of pressure on Chacin to get the game to Hader with as few innings remaining as possible.
For Los Angeles, it’s Walker Buehler who, the grand slam he gave up to Ronald Acuña in the NLDS notwithstanding, was the Dodgers’ most dominant starter down the stretch. In keeping with the somewhat flipped script so far, however, the Los Angeles bullpen has been solid, allowing just two runs over their ten and two-thirds innings in Games 1 and 2. Not that Dave Roberts wouldn’t love to see Buehler go deep tonight too.