Back on May 14, after the White Sox dropped a series to the Royals, I'd mentioned that they were being out-homered at U.S. Cellular Field by a significant margin, which didn't bode well if it continued.
Well, after A.J. Pierzynski, Paul Konerko, Alex Rios, Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo left the yard on Thursday night, the White Sox corrected the issue at the moment, they have narrowed the gap to 28-27. And at their current pace, this problem should be resolved sooner rather than later.
The Sox have homered in 10 straight games, and this power surge has elevated the Sox to the middle of the pack:
- Before May 14: .238/.306/.379
- After May 14: .249/.315/.407
They're eighth in OBP, sixth in runs, sixth in homers, sixth in batting average ... basically, it's an offense Sox pitchers can work with, and it looks like they're on the verge of eliminating most dead zones. Gordon Beckham looks better, as long as the lineouts don't get to him. Dayan Viciedo boosted his OPS to an even .700, and he's thisclose to shaking his too-long swing. Alex Rios is trying to hit for power, and he's left the yard in back-to-back games. Then there's Orlando Hudson, who may turn out to be a massive upgrade over Brent Morel, even if he's completely unremarkable.
These Sox are starting to look like a whole team. And sure, they've won six of their last seven against three below-.500 teams (the Angels, Cubs and Twins), but the Sox have struggled to use these favorable stretches to build momentum before, so it shouldn't be taken for granted. Weigh it how you want, but it's an achievement of some sort no matter what.
Now, the pitching staff just needs to hold together...
For the second time this season, the White Sox made a late scratch to their rotation by placing John Danks on the DL with "sub-scap" soreness. Like Chris Sale, Danks thought he could make his next start. Unlike Sale, Danks did say he felt unusual.
Speaking of Sale, Kenny Williams is emphatic and enthusiastic about 1) the Sox's willingness and ability to protect Sale, and 2) Sale's future in the rotation. Encouraging quotes all around.
- Rios frustrated by power outage - whitesox.com: News
- Rios longs for the old ways - White Sox Observer
As mentioned earlier, Rios was starting to get antsy about his lack of slugging percentage. It's true that it's problematic, but James offers the counterargument -- Rios was too pull-happy last year, and even if he's not maxing out his pop, it's not time to get greedy.
So far, Rios has countered the counterargument by homering in every game. Sound strategy.
Jeff Manto talked about his most frustrated (and frustrating) hitter, Alexei Ramirez:
"He’s swinging at bad pitches, yet he’s lining out all over the place. Once he narrows down his strike zone, he’ll be fine.’’
Scott Reifert offers a few more details about Kevin Hickey's end. And, hey, Greg Norton!
- Take a Stand Against Bullying - whitesox.com: Community
- White Sox launch campaign against bullying - ChicagoPride.com
The White Sox launched an anti-bullying campaign with Robin Ventura, John Danks, Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez. Brent Lillibridge offered in-person support by speaking about it to students at McLellan Elementary School in Bridgeport.
David Haugh tells the story behind the "A Day With Jake Peavy" raffle, and it's a pretty compelling one.
And for something completely different, here's Snoop Dogg throwing out the first pitch.