White Sox

The 2005 White Sox have something in common with the Golden State Warriors

The 2005 White Sox have something in common with the Golden State Warriors

For obvious reasons the Golden State Warriors have been compared to Michael Jordan’s championship-winning Bulls teams of the 1990s.

However, after the Warriors just wrapped up a 16-1 postseason by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday, another Chicago sports team has something in common with the Warriors.

The 2005 White Sox went 11-1 in the postseason and were the last team to go through a postseason with just one loss. The White Sox swept the ALDS and lost Game 1 of the ALCS to the Angels before winning the final eight games that postseason.

Since the Divisional Series were introduced in baseball in 1995 only one other team can make the claim, the 1999 Yankees. The Yankees also suffered their only loss that postseason in the ALCS, coming in Game 3 in Boston.

The three American leagues with playoff series (NBA, MLB, NHL) have had other teams go through the playoffs with just one loss.

The 2001 Lakers went 15-1 and the 1983 76ers went 12-1, the only NBA teams to go through a three-round postseason with just one loss. The conference semifinals weren’t played by all playoff teams until 1967.

Only one NHL franchise has gone through a three-round postseason with one loss. The Montreal Canadiens did it twice, in 1968 and 1976. Since adding a fourth round to the NHL Playoffs, the 1988 Edmonton Oilers' 16-2 run is the best ever.

For reference, the best record the Bulls had in their six title-winning seasons was the very first championship in 1991. The Bulls went 15-2. The 1996 Bulls, which went 72-10 in the regular season, went 15-3 in the playoffs. The best record the Blackhawks had in any of the three recent title winning postseasons came in 2010 (16-6).

No team from these three leagues has gone undefeated in the playoffs while playing at least three rounds in the postseason. 

One-loss postseasons (having played at least three series):

2017 Warriors: 16-1

2005 White Sox: 11-1

2001 Lakers: 15-1

1999 Yankees: 11-1

1983 76ers: 12-1

1976 Canadiens: 12-1

1968 Canadiens: 12-1

White Sox free-agent focus: Dallas Keuchel

White Sox free-agent focus: Dallas Keuchel

This week, we’re profiling some of the biggest names on the free-agent market and taking a look at what kind of fits they are for the White Sox.

The White Sox need starting pitching, so why not bring in a guy with a Cy Young Award sitting on his mantle?

Dallas Keuchel is one of the two biggest names on the starting-pitching market this winter, along with Patrick Corbin, who will get more attention — and likely more dollars — because he's two years younger. But Keuchel's the guy with the track record, the AL Cy Young winner in 2015 (when he was also a top-five MVP finisher), a two-time All Star, a four-time Gold Glove winner and the owner of a 3.28 ERA over the past five seasons, during which he helped the Houston Astros transition from rebuilding to one of baseball's perennial contenders. You might have heard something about them winning the World Series in 2017.

It's true that things have been somewhat up and down for Keuchel since his Cy Young win. After posting a 2.48 ERA with a career-high 216 strikeouts in 33 starts during that 2015 season, he had a 4.55 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 26 starts in 2016, then a 2.90 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 23 starts in 2017 and a 3.74 ERA and 153 strikeouts in 34 starts last season. But three times in the last five years he's finished with an ERA under 3.00. In other words, he's pretty darn good.

How might he fit with the White Sox? Well, in terms of whether or not he lines up with their long-term plans. Keuchel's older than Corbin, but it's not like he's old. He'll be 31 on Opening Day 2019, and a long-term deal, which he's expected to fetch, would keep him around for another planned transition from rebuilding to contention. Keuchel — a veteran who's accomplished a lot already, including putting a World Series ring on his finger — could be viewed as a Jon Lester type for these rebuilding White Sox, a big name who buys into the front office's long-term plan and helps make those plans become reality.

And there's no doubt the White Sox are in the market for starting pitching this winter. Michael Kopech is recovering from Tommy John surgery, and the White Sox decided not to pick up James Shields' option for 2019. That leaves two holes in the starting rotation. An addition like Keuchel would be a long-term one, which means the White Sox would opt to make him a safety net for their still-developing fleet of young pitchers and choose not to roll the dice on a homegrown starting staff for 2020. However, if they're confident in a quintet of Kopech, Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dylan Cease, then maybe they opt for a couple one-year fill-ins in 2019. Keuchel would not be a one-year fill-in.

Keuchel could also fill the role vacated by Shields, a veteran who could help bring along the young guys in an off-the-field mentor role. His experience going through the dark days of a rebuild — he was a member of Astros teams that lost a combined 310 games from 2012 to 2014 — and coming out the other end a world champ would also figure to be of value.

Of course, the White Sox wouldn't be alone in a pursuit of Keuchel, if they were interested. Thanks to Clayton Kershaw signing a new contract extension with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he's one of the two biggest names on the market when it comes to starting pitchers. The White Sox would likely have to go through the same bidding war and pitch of planned future success they would with other big names like Corbin, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

But there's no doubt Keuchel would be an upgrade to this rotation in 2019 and could provide plenty of value for years beyond.

ESPN forgot about the White Sox again, and the Big Hurt let 'em hear about it


ESPN forgot about the White Sox again, and the Big Hurt let 'em hear about it

ESPN forgot about the White Sox again.

The Worldwide Leader in Sports has made a habit of failing to remember the South Siders in recent years, most notably forgetting (on multiple occasions) that the White Sox did in fact win the 2005 World Series.

It happened enough times that A.J. Pierzynski had some opinions about it.

This time, the omission came in an effort to illustrate how good Mike Trout is, with ESPN researcher Paul Hembekides listing baseball players who appeared in the top four in MVP voting three or more times. Trout, the Los Angeles Angels superstar, has already done it seven times, and boy that is terrific.

But Hembekides left someone out. And that someone let him hear about it.

You tell 'em, Frank.

Yes, the Big Hurt finished in the top four of the AL MVP vote on six separate occasions: 1991 (third), 1993 (first), 1994 (first), 1997 (third), 2000 (second) and 2006 (fourth, while playing for the Oakland Athletics).

ESPN's blind spot for the White Sox doesn't end up meaning much of anything, though it's amusing that they've now managed to leave out a relatively recent World Series champion and a relatively recent first-ballot Hall of Famer.

We all make mistakes. But it's a little funny that ESPN's are, repeatedly, White Sox related.