After fifty games in this 2012 MLB season, who’s standing alone in first place of the American League Central Division? I’ll give you two hints – it’s not the fancy-pants predicted Detroit Tigers and it’s not the the Cleveland Indians. It’s our very own Southsiders. The Chicago White Sox, a team that Sports Illustrated predicted to lose 95 games this season, are proving every nasty critic wrong.
How is the team that no one believed in making moves in the tough AL central? Here’s a little breakdown for ya:
*They’ve won eight games in a row, are 12-of-13 and homered in 15 straight games (their longest streak since 2004). Last night the Sox rallied for five runs against Rays’ pitcher James Shields in the sixth and Dayan Viciedo added an eighth-inning home run to push the White Sox past Tampa Bay 7-2.
*Paul Konerko, considered an “old man” at age 36, has a batting average of .386 and having a mind-blowing start this season. As my dad would say, “he’s just seeing the ball.” It’s more like, “Paulie’s hitting like a wild beast!” Konerko’s hot hitting landed him the AL player of the week honor for the period ending May 27th.
*Chris Sale may be all arms and legs, but this young pitcher has a studly throwing arm and is an early candidates for the Cy Young Award. On Monday, Sale struck out 15 Rays players, setting his own career high and finishing one strike out away from the team’s franchise record (Jack Harshman struck out 16 against Boston on July 25, 1954). SALE’S COMIN IN HOT!
*Rookie GM Robin Ventura is giving Dayan Viciedo the chance Ozzie Guillen never did and boy is it paying off. Viciedo, my Cuban brother is nicknamed “tank” for his stocky physique, has been crushing the ball and is absolutely one of the best young hitters in the league. This guy’s proving he deserves to be in the White Sox lineup this season.
is a present force this season and is on a hot comeback trail. His slugging percentage is up from last year and he already has 16 home runs – that’s five more than last year. Basically, he’s hit as many home runs this month as he did all of last season (let’s not dwell on the past). The Sox just need him to stay on track and good things will continue to happen.
*Most skeptics figured the White Sox had either given up or lost their damn minds when they hired Robin Ventura
as Ozzie Guillen’s predecessor. The guy had never managed a baseball game in his life. However, said skeptics forgot to consider his knowledge of the game, leadership abilities, communication skills and laid-back personality. These qualities are seemingly a perfect fit for this ball club and just what the doctor ordered after last season’s soap opera.
*Impeccable defense doesn’t hurt either. With the help of Chris Sale on the mound, the Sox are definitely one of the top five defensive teams in the American League. Their impressive defensive lineup and swift gloves are what have kept them rolling when their offensive bats have struggled.
For a team no one expected anything out of, I’d say this season has gotten off to a great start. I know it’s still early, but it’s not that early in the season and it’s starting to feel a lot like 2005 to me! The only problem seems to be the lack of White Sox fans in attendance at home games. So get some tickets and support your favorite guys in white and black. Sorry to brag Cubs fans, but it’s a lot more fun to root for the South Side right about now.