Then there are stretches like the four losses in five games
heading into this week's All-Star break that leaves Chicago looking
like anything but.
The White Sox flirted with .500 much of the season and their current
45-50 mark is eight wins better than at last year's break and six
ahead of their pace after 95 games (39-56) in 2013.
Credit rookie Jose Abreu and left-handed pitcher Chris Sale for much
of improvement and overachievement for a South Side team that lost
99 games last year.
Abreu, a 27-year-old first baseman from Cuba, tops the majors with
29 home runs and has twice been named American League rookie of the
month and was also AL Player of the Month once. It's hard to imagine
much White Sox success without him.
Sale's 8-1 record trails only Jose Contreras' 9-0 first half record
in 2006 among best starts in White Sox history. Sale has a 2.08 ERA
through 14 starts and has struck out 102 while walking just 16.
Abreu, Sale and shortstop Alexei Ramirez were set to represent the
White Sox at this week's All-Star Game in Minneapolis. Sale was
winner of the AL's Final Vote contest.
Even with Sale, the White Sox rank near the bottom of the American
League in ERA (4.17), saves (19) and walks and hits per inning
pitched (1.39). And 12 blown saves are tied for third most in the
league. Closer Ronald Belisario (3-6) has struggled with a 6.35 ERA
and just eight saves in 38 appearances.
Chicago stands 10 1/2 games behind first place Detroit, which seems
poised to run away with the division in the second half.
So the only hopes for postseason lie with a wild card berth. And
right now the White Sox are seventh in the wild-card standings, 6
1/2 games behind the co-wild card leading Angels and Mariners.
MLB Team Report - Chicago White Sox - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Lost one
FIRST-HALF MVP: Rookie 1B Jose Abreu leads the major leagues in home
runs (29), is tied for third in RBIs (73) and is 14th in the
American League with a .297 average with 94 hits. Even a 14-game
stint on the disabled list earlier this season with a sore ankle
didn't slow down the Cuban phenom. Since returning June 2, Abreu is
batting .313 with 14 homers and 31 RBIs in 38 games. His 50 extra
base hits came in the second-fewest games ever. Honorable mention
goes to All-Star LHP Chris Sale, the only other White Sox
untouchable. He is 8-1 with a 2.08 ERA over 14 starts and 95
FIRST-HALF GRADE: C -- After posting baseball's third-worst record
in 2013, the White Sox overachieved so far this season even with
sometimes suspect pitching. While Chicago is six games under .500,
the team is just 6 1/2 games out of a wild-card spot, leaving hope
for the second half. The White Sox can't afford a falloff by
sensational rookie 1B Jose Abreu -- or LHP Chris Sale or LHP John
Danks, for that matter -- if they hope to make a run. Better
starting pitching from the rest of the staff plus a more disciplined
bullpen are a must.
PIVOTAL POST-BREAK PLAYER: 2B Gordon Beckham is subject of trade
rumors, but if he stays, he will need to find more consistency at
the plate. Beckham is batting just .238 with a career-low .291
on-base percentage and a .379 slugging percentage. Take away
Beckham's .306 average in May, and his half-season was truly woeful.
He hit .160 through the end of April, .235 in June, and he is
batting .114 so far in July. Despite Beckham's struggles, manager
Robin Ventura keeps writing his name on the lineup card. Beckham
started 71 of the team's 74 games since coming off the disabled list
in late April.
BUY OR SELL: If the White Sox opt to look to next year, they have
some talent a contending team might savor. 1B/DH Adam Dunn, has no
postseason experience, but his big left-handed bat could be a
welcome addition to a playoff team. 2B Gordon Beckham and All-Star
SS Alexei Ramirez also were the subject of rumors, with minor league
middle infielder Carlos Sanchez waiting in the wings. LHP John Danks
enhanced his trade value by going 5-2 with a 2.69 ERA over his past
10 starts. 1B Jose Abreu and LHP Chris Sale aren't going anywhere,
and LHP Jose Quintana and RF Avisail Garcia are unlikely to be
INJURY STATUS: SS Alexei Ramirez left Saturday's game in Cleveland
with an unspecified injury and did not play Sunday, but he entered
the All-Star Game as a midgame replacement for Derek Jeter. RHP Matt
Lindstrom remains on the disabled list with an ankle injury, but he
threw a 30-pitch bullpen session and performed some defensive drills
Saturday. OF Avisail Garcia, who underwent shoulder surgery in
mid-April, hopes to return before the end of the season.
TOP PROSPECT: SS Carlos Sanchez, 22, was called up from Triple-A
Charlotte on Sunday to fill in for Alexei Ramirez, who was nursing a
sore back. Sanchez was hitting .291 with 12 stolen bases with
Charlotte. 3B Matt Davidson, a power hitter with 17 home runs and 38
RBIs in 86 games in Charlotte, was acquired by the White Sox in
exchange for RHP Addison Reed last winter. However, the 23-year-old
is batting .213 with a .287 on-base percentage. Speedy 2B Micah
Johnson, 23, made a quick rise from Double-A Birmingham to
Charlotte, and he has a .297 average and six stolen bases through 38
[to top of second column]
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I would like it to be better. We've had spurts where
we play well and spurts where we didn't play that well. We've had a
lot of games that we could have won that we didn't win. You wish you
were in a better spot. You just come back and clean that stuff up."
-- White Sox manager Robin Ventura.
MLB Team Report - Chicago White Sox - ROSTER REPORT
--RHP Matt Lindstrom (subluxed left ankle tendon) went on the 15-day
disabled list May 20. He underwent surgery May 23. He was playing
catch without wearing a walking boot in late June. He might be able
to return in late August.
--RHP Felipe Paulino (right rotator cuff inflammation) went on the
15-day disabled list April 19. He was throwing bullpen sessions in
late April. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on
May 3. Paulino was pulled from his rehab assignment May 27 due to
--RHP Nate Jones (nerve issue in back) went on the 15-day disabled
list April 4, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 3. He
underwent surgery May 5. As of June 10, he was playing catch,
throwing from about 70 feet. He was still doing light throwing in
early July, though not off a mound. He might be able to return in
late July or early August.
--OF Avisail Garcia (torn labrum in left shoulder) was put on the
15-day disabled list April 10, and he was transferred to the 60-day
DL on April 27. He underwent surgery April 15. He started doing
minimal doing baseball-related activities June 13, and he took
on-field batting practice for the first time July 7. There is a
chance he could return to action this year.
LHP Chris Sale
LHP Jose Quintana
LHP John Danks
RHP Scott Carroll
RHP Hector Noesi
RHP Ronald Belisario
RHP Daniel Webb
RHP Zack Putnam
RHP Jake Petricka
RHP Javy Guerra
LHP Eric Surkamp
1B Jose Abreu
2B Gordon Beckham
SS Alexei Ramirez
3B Conor Gillaspie
INF Paul Konerko
INF Leury Garcia
INF Carlos Sanchez
LF Alejandro De Aza
CF Adam Eaton
RF Dayan Viciedo
DH Adam Dunn
OF Moises Sierra
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