With Thursday's 4-1 victory in the books, the White Sox have won their 4th straight series and sit well within striking distance just 3.5 games back of the division leading Indians.
BUT in those 4 series victories, the Sox have been outscored 41-49, and 44-57 in the month of May, during which they've posted an 8-6 record. They've won a total of 20 games on the season, and just one of those victories was by more than 3 runs, Buehrle's no-hitter against the Rangers. That's not a recipe for long-term success. There's little hope of the Sox being able to continue to win while carrying the worst offense in baseball.
Help is on the way, however, and you have to figure that the offense can't be this bad all season. (Please get better. I can't stand to watch you be the only team in the AL that averages less than two hits per game with runners in scoring position.)
The Tribune website (I'm not sure it will be the same headline in the paper) reads "Wait until bats break out." But, pessimistic (realistic?) Sox fan that I am, I can't yet bring myself to accept that the pitching won't fall apart, which is why each loss with the pitching we've been seeing hurts all the more. The Sox can't keep waiting to "hit their stride," as Hawk would say. They've got to put W's in the bank for the day when Contreras breaks down, or Danks starts pitching like a rookie, or Joe Crede finally admits that surgery may have been a good idea. Well, maybe not that last one. Josh Fields could probably replace his current production rather easily, but you get my point. It's not time to be happy the Sox aren't further behind.
Guillen indicated that Jose Contreras will pitch on short rest Sunday at Wrigley. And while I admire the organization's attempt to protect the young arm of John Danks, it seems to me that they may be babying the wrong arm.
Danks would be starting Sunday if the Sox had elected to play Tuesday night at their delayed start time of 9:15. Instead he started Wednesday, 16 hours later, and was used for only 88 pitches, for which I applauded Ozzie's managing skills. His decision to pitch Danks in the first game (It was Contreras' day to pitch, and he very easily could have been moved up to give him some extra time between starts.) and pull him with just 88 pitches in a 3-run game seemed to indicate that he was the first choice for Sunday.
Contreras, meanwhile, started the late game and was allowed to crack the triple-digit pitch mark just one game after going the distance. You'll recall that Contreras was the Sox lone starter to spend time on the DL last year, spending much of the second half nursing sciatica and hamstring injuries that probably, in part, accounted for his 4-5MPH drop in velocity. This season Contreras is supposedly fully healthy, but that velocity has not returned. And yet it's Contreras, the pitcher with the spotty recent injury history, the unverifiable age, the thousands of innings in his arm, the mysteriously missing MPH, who gets the nod on Sunday.
I'm not nearly as upset at the pitching change as I would have been if they called up someone from the farm to make a spot start, but I think I agree with Hawk on this one (though he'll probably change his tune now that the move is official). The Sox may have out-thought themselves here.