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White Sox pitching now waiting for offense to catch up

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Strong five-start turn through the rotation makes the lack of production from the lineup more glaring

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It took seven weeks, a swap of back-end starters and a string of sub-.500 oppoonents, but the White Sox rotation finally strung together five starts that serve their individual purposes.

John Danks May 16 7 3 2 2 1 3 6 66
Jeff Samardzija May 17 8 8 3 3 1 3 5 56
Chris Sale May 18 8 4 1 1 0 2 7 75
Jose Quintana May 19 7 8 2 2 0 4 4 53
Carlos Rodon May 20 6 4 1 1 0 5 4 59
Total 36 27 9 9 2 17 26 2.25 ERA

Rodon completed the full turn with the shakiest effort of the five, as he walked five over six innings. Nevertheless, it was a heart-smart start for his ERA, and considering the circumstances -- a rookie pitcher making his first starts for a team that isn't quite clicking -- good results are good results.

John Danks will try to keep it going as he takes the mound against Cleveland tonight. It'll also be an attempt to salvage the split, which is one reason why this little run might not be as satisfying as it should be. The Sox are down 2-1 in the series despite allowing just eight runs over three games.

That's on the offense, of course, and with the run prevention unit starting to bring it all together, the lineup stands in starker relief.

The offense is seventh in the American League in batting average (.251), which is fine in and of itself. The OBP is worse (.309), but nowhere close to last (the Angels, at .289). If the Sox had their usual dose of power, they could win with that.

Alas, they are having a helluva time coming up with extra bases in any way.

12. Rangers, .383
13. Red Sox, .369
14. White Sox, .361
15. Angels, .357
12. Tigers/Indians, 34
13. Twins, 30
14. Royals, 29
15. White Sox, 25
12. Orioles, 57
13. White Sox, 53
14. Angels, 53
15. Red Sox, 51
12. Twins, 106
13. Red Sox, 98
14. Angels, 90
15. White Sox, 82
12. Red Sox, .135
13. Twins, .128
14. Angels, .122
15. White Sox, .107
12. Red Sox, 14
13. Angels, 13
14. Orioles, 12
15. White Sox, 7

The White Sox are more station-to-station than ever, despite all sorts of attempts to separate themselves from that identity. And yet despite the season-long offensive brownout, and despite the fact that they just had five straight good starts for the first time all season, they're only one game under .500.

You can process this information in three ways:

Optimist: Jose Abreu, Adam LaRoche and Melky Cabrera are due to see some serious regression in the thump categories.

Pessimist: This is the new normal, and you'll be amazed they were ever over .500 by the end of this season.

Contextualist: How many good teams does the American League have?

That last one might be the most significant, because the standings are wack right now. Only four teams are better than three games above .500 -- the Royals, Tigers, Twins and Astros -- at least three of them could be considered overachievers to varying degrees. The Angels are all over that above board, and they're 21-19.  The AL Central occupies the last five slots in home runs hit.

The White Sox might be worse than everybody thought. So might the Indians, Orioles, Blue Jays, Angels, Mariners, Athletics, and even the Red Sox, depending what you thought of them to begin with. That's more than half the league! And, that doesn't even include teams who have satisfactory records, like the Tigers (who aren't getting nearly what they paid for from Victor Martinez, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez) or the Yankees (who are so old).

The White Sox have performed like a team with extreme flaws, but the parity is so extreme that they have somehow been rendered ordinary through 37 games. That's the blessing or the curse this year -- if the Sox spend the next month or two looking like a .500 team ... they might actually resemble a majority of the league as well.