It has been a strange few weeks on the better side of the City of Chicago. The White Sox are getting ready to finish sweeping the first place Cleveland Natives out of the Cell. This will erase a bad early part of May, and put them one-half game behind Cleveland for first place. The Sox will also be four games over .500. Not bad for a team many were picking for last place.
Over the last four games (all wins), the White Sox have scored at least nine games. The last time the Sox put up nine runs in four consecutive games was 1938.
As I sit here the day before Memorial Day, there is a hitter for the White Sox who is flirting with a 0.400 batting average. Not only that, but his average has been going up the last few weeks. Fan favorite Paul Konerko hit his 400th homer as a member of the White Sox today, and with that, a single later in the game puts him at 0.399. I know that Paul Konerko is not going to be hitting 0.400 for the season, but in the last 30+ years I have followed the team, I ave no recollection of a starter playing through the first two months of the season carrying an average anywhere near t his high into June. Even Frank Thomas, the year he actually won the batting title, never came this close to 0.400 so late! For a guy who has labored in the shadows for his entire career, it is tremendous to see the eyes of the baseball world turn their eyes to this guy for a while.
The pitching has cooled a bit, but with the hitting exploding balls all over the park, it hasn’t mattered too much. The hitting has been so un-White Sox like … all of their collective averages are moving north, and even Adam Dunn has seen his walk percentage edge up, and has already surpassed last year’s disastrously low home run total, and is now among the league leaders.
What could make this any better? You KNOW waht could make this better.
The other side of town is looking like the White House from Independence Day. The Cubs are simultaneously imploding and exploding. Things have gotten so bad at the Weedy confines (HOW BAD IS IT!!???), the Cubs are actually not selling out games. While the White Sox are sweeping division leaders, the Cubs are being swept by the Pirates, a team that hasn’t finished above 0.500 for a season since 1992!! When the sun rises on Memorial Day, the Chicago Cubs will have the worst record in Major League Baseball, and no sign of recovering soon.
The White Sox will now have a challenge ahead of them … they are heading to Tamper (Tampa for the non-New Englanders) to face the Rays. After that, June will see series with Toronto, St. Louis, the Dodgers, and the Yankees. When the dust clears to take us into July, we will have an idea of whether or not this team can compete with the rest of the League.