Quick Shots column on White Sox, Cubs and bandwagon-hopping Doug Collins.
Baseball Prospectus reports the White Sox easily lead the American League in percentage of their runs scored on homers at 51 percent. The Sox also ranked first in 2005 and 2006. And the White Sox are third in the majors in ERA. Homers, walks and starting pitching were the undervalued building blocks A’s general manager Billy Beane stressed in “Moneyball.” It’s hard to call GM Kenny Williams a “Moneyball” man with Chicago’s $121 million payroll. Williams does a good job, but his little moves (Carlos Quentin) work better than his big moves (Nick Swisher, Orlando Cabrera). Pitching coach Don Cooper deserves the lion’s share of the credit. The man who once turned Esteban Loaiza into a 21-game winner has five White Sox pitchers ranked in the top 30 in the AL by Baseball Prospectus. And pitching was supposed to be the Sox’s weakness. Odds favor Cubs and Sox Baseball Prospectus weighs teams’ current records, stats and talent and comes up with their odds of making the playoffs, adjusted daily. As of Friday, the White Sox were given a 64 percent chance of winning the AL Central, and the Cubs 60 percent in the NL Central. The oddest odds? The Angels were preseason favorites and lead the AL West, but they are given only a 23 percent chance of winning. The second-place A’s, who have outscored teams by 28 more runs than Anaheim, are favored at 66 percent. Why don’t Cubs sign Lofton? If the Cubs want a left-handed center fielder, they should sign Kenny Lofton. He is 41 and has little power, but he batted .335, .301 and .296 the last three years. The Cubs may need a center fielder — Reed Johnson, Jim Edmonds and Felix Pie have combined to hit .239 with 3 home runs — but they don’t need more power. Chicago leads all of baseball in runs and is tied for eighth in homers. And the better you hit, the less you need power. The White Sox need homers because they’re batting .248. But when you have seven guys batting close to .300, as the Cubs do, you can have big innings without homers. The Cubs don’t need a savior in center, just another guy who gets on base. Like Kenny Lofton. Fickle coach wrong choice The Bulls call Doug Collins and he says he doesn’t want to coach. The Bulls then win the draft lottery. Now Collins calls the Bulls, asking to coach. Chicago says yes. I always liked Doug Collins as a coach, but I don’t like this. Who wants a bandwagon hopper to lead your team? Matt Trowbridge’s Quick Shots on Sports appear Sundays. He can be reached at 815-987-1383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.