White Sox Thriving As The Summer’s Kings Of Chicago
I’m not a huge believer in coincidences, but since it gets people to read articles here’s a crazy one. The Chicago White Sox were struggling through April with a pitching staff lacking identity, a stable of aging sluggers and a rookie manager trying to find his tactical identity. Then Bulls star Derrick Rose tore his ACL on April 28. Since then, White Sox are 17-11 including six straight wins and nine wins in 10 contests to threaten Cleveland for the AL Central lead.
Coincidence? Of course. A stretch? Most likely. Are you still reading? Yep.
Rookie skipper Robin Ventura has gotten incredibly strong seasons from veterans Adam Dunn, back from the dead after one of the worst seasons in recent memory, the ageless Paul Konerko (he’s batting .395), A.J. Pierzynski, Alex Rios and former ace Jake Peavy, who’s having his own end of career renaissance. Ventura has also juggled his bullpen over the first two months, transitioning from Hector Santiago to Matt Thornton to 23-year-old righty Addison Reed, who has stabilized the position (for the most part) over the past two weeks.
Chris Sale’s transition from the bullpen to the rotation has been a major spark for the Pale Hose. He certainly had a Memorial Day to remember, striking out 15 Rays in a 2-1 win, running his record to 6-2 to go with a 2.34 ERA. His 9.52 strikeouts per nine innings ranks sixth in the major leagues.
It also proves that ownership made the right decision in choosing to keep general manager Kenny Williams over manager Ozzie Guillen, whose live wire act ran its course in Chicago. Williams chose Ventura, who never had any managerial experience, and so far it’s worked out pretty well. The White Sox have now filled the void as Chicago’s “it team” and have played strong baseball since that Rose injury. A lot of things have to go right for the White Sox to remain in contention, but Ventura and Williams are currently just enjoying the ride.