White Sox 21-5 In Last Month
The Chicago White Sox were 24-33 a month ago today on June 8 but since then have compiled a 21-5 record. On that date they were nine games under .500 and nine and a half games behind the first place Twins in the AL Central and six games behind the Tigers.
Now a month later the White Sox moved ahead of the Twins last night. While the Twins have played 11-15 baseball since this date a month ago the White Sox have played at a amazing 21-5 clip.
Freddy Garcia (9-3) has pitched well consistently after losing his first two starts of the season. Garcia had to battle Dan Hudson for the fifth spot in the starting rotation in spring training but manager Ozzie Guillen made the right choice by using Garcia as the fifth starter.
Garcia has had 12 quality starts among his 16 starts this season and has not walked more than two batters in any of his last 14 starts.
The White Sox were hitting .225 which was the worst batting average in the majors early in the season but since then have raised their average to .254 which is 23rd in the majors.
They went from April 25 to May 22 without winning more than one game in a row. Then the White Sox reached their low point of the season on June 8 with their 24-33 record.
The turning point of the season was when they defeated the Tigers in the last two games of a three game series and then defeated the Cubs in the first two games of that series for a four game winning streak.
From then on the White Sox the lost to the Cubs the next day but then put together an 11 game winning streak sweeping the Pirates, Nationals and Braves before losing the third game of a series against the Cubs.
Even facing the first and second place Rangers and Angels of the AL West has not slowed down the White Sox with them taking two out of three from the Rangers and they need a win today for a four game sweep over the Angels.
When they return from the All-Star break the White Sox hit the road for a four game series with the Twins but then play the Mariners and Athletics in their next 13 games.
From August 3 to August 19 the White Sox play the Twins and Tigers 13 times in a 17 game stretch. By the end of play on August 19 we should have a good indication of how good this White Sox team can be this season.
With Jake Peavy on the 15 day DL and possibly out for the season it is imperative that the White Sox get some wins out of his spot from either a minor league pitcher or trade for a top notch starter. There is a rumor that Cliff Lee could wind up with the White Sox but with so many teams vying for Lee’s services including the Twins the chances of the White Sox actually winding up with him are slim.
Some of the White Sox hitters who struggled earlier in the season are now starting to hit. Carlos Quentin and Alexei Ramirez are two who have hit well recently. Juan Pierre still has not hit like he has in the past but he has shown some improvement lately.
Paul Konerko and Alex Rios have hit well from the start of the season but Gordon Beckham has struggled from early in the season and can’t seem to get past the .210 mark. Brent Lillibridge hitting .429 and Dayan Viciedo hitting .281 have hit well coming off the bench.
One concern is that three everyday players have an on base percentage under .300. Viciedo has a .281 OBP, A.J. Pierzynski has a .278 mark and Beckham has posted a .272 OBP.
The key to the second half is finding a dependable starter for Peavy’s slot in the starting rotation. Beckham needs to at least get his average back to .250 and start hitting with power so he can move up from the ninth spot in the batting order.
A month ago it looked like the White Sox were not going to be a factor in the AL Central but now it looks like they will be a contender in the division all season.
It remains to be seen if general manager Kenny Williams will make any moves to improve the team before the trading deadline. There have been rumors that the White Sox might trade for Adam Dunn of the Nationals. The question is how many prospects the White Sox are willing to give up for Dunn who may turn out to be a three month rental player.
Dunn who hit three home runs last night would be a huge upgrade at designated hitter over Andruw Jones and Mark Kotsay. Dunn leads the NL in extra base hits with 47 and is only one behind the major league leader Miguel Cabrera.
It is a good sign the White Sox have played this well for an entire month and shows they are capable of being in the AL playoffs in October.