White Sox making up ground in the AL Central
It’s been a rocky ride for the 2011 Chicago White Sox. On May 6th the White Sox were 11-22 and had already fallen 11 games off the pace in the AL Central race. The bullpen was struggling, the bats had gone cold, and the defense was spotty.
However, flash forward 35 games later and the Sox have jumped right back into the thick of things by winning 22 of the aforementioned 35 games, and after today’s losses by the Tigers and Indians, the White Sox have closed the gap in the American League Central to three and a half games.
Perhaps the best news for the South Siders, who just wrapped up a four game series with Oakland by winning three games, is the increased production from Alex Rios and Adam Dunn. Rios struggled today, going 0-for-4, but he had two hits in each of the series’ first three games and finished the series 6-for-16 at the dish.
Dunn, on the other hand, went just 3-for-12 on the series, but he was able to add two big flies and six RBI’s. Adam’s three run homer in the fourth inning today accounted for all the White Sox offense going into the 7th inning before a botched double play ball and a Konerko RBI single sealed the game.
If Dunn and Rios can get their houses in order, the rest of the American League Central better watch out, because they could provide much needed protection to the already scorching Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin.
Quentin had a 12-game hitting streak snapped on Saturday, but in those 12 games Quentin hit five home runs and drove in 14. Carlos was also able to raise his batting average a staggering 21 points during the streak, going from .253 to .274.
Konerko has put together an impressive hitting streak of his own, extending it to 13 games this afternoon. During this streak, Konerko has hit six home runs and driven in 15, all while hitting at a .460 clip. Paulie is once again quietly putting up MVP caliber numbers, and at day’s end Konerko is in the top five in the American League in home runs, runs batted in, and batting average.
One area of concern for the White Sox, as they end this 10-game home stand, has to be the struggles of White Sox closer Sergio Santos. Santos had been a rock since taking over the job late in April, but in his last three appearances he has given up 8 runs, blown a save, and eaten two losses. Santos nearly added to those totals today, as he was in serious trouble against Oakland in the ninth before being bailed out on a bang-bang play by rookie 3B Brent Morel.
The Sox start a six-game road trip beginning Tuesday in Minnesota and ending Sunday in Arizona. Then the Sox come home for the always intense Crosstown Classic against the Chicago Cubs.