It’s a fact. There has never been a playoff team in the history of Major League Baseball that didn’t have a five-game winning streak during the course of their regular season, and following the Chicago White Sox 4-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles in Camden Yard on Tuesday night, the Sox have now met that prerequisite.
Unfortunately for the Sox, their success over the last five days far from guarantees them participation in the postseason. However, they’re on the right track.
If the White Sox have any hopes of running down the first-place Detroit Tigers, the “South Side Nine” are going to have to start piling up the victories over the course of the last 47 contests. If anything, this winning streak has certainly shown the inconsistent Sox the blueprint for success, and that is to hit the ball.
It’s a simple concept, but it’s also been one that has eluded the South Siders for the majority of the year. On Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, the White Sox scored six runs or more in three consecutive contests for only the second time of the season. With the pitching staff carrying the load all summer, the White Sox will need the bats to stay hot for there to be any hopes of meaningful fall baseball in Chicago.
The offensive production over the last five days has been far from overwhelming, but the 29 runs that they have scored are more than they had scored in their previous nine. The major reason for the uptick in production has been a power surge in the Sox lineup. It’s no secret that the White Sox expected to drive the ball out of the ballpark when they put this batting order together, but at times the meat of the Sox lineup has gone dormant and the home run numbers are down. Over the last five games, the White Sox have gone yard 11 times.
Combine that ability to drive the ball out of the ballpark with an all-around solid pitching staff, and the White Sox could be potentially dangerous down the stretch.
Unfortunately, the Sox have shown flashes of brilliance like this before, but the issue has always been their consistency. A week ago, I had written the Ozzie Guillen’s crew off completely, and now I am more than just a little bit gun shy.
The White Sox have done just enough to draw me back to my television set, which is more than I could say for them after being pummeled by the Red Sox and Yankees, but I’m not going to say that they are back in this race. There’s time for the White Sox, but I’m going to need to see at least a couple more weeks of solid baseball before I’m ready to commit again.
The Sox will have the opportunity to tango six times with the Tigers in the first couple weeks of September, but it remains to be seen if the Sox are capable of hanging around long enough for those games to matter. I have the sneaking suspicion that we’ll find out what this club is made of very soon.