In a showdown of first-place teams in the American League, the White Sox walked away with a split of a four-game series at New York. Chicago dropped the final two games of the set as they finished their most recent road trip with a 4-3 record. The Sox are still coming off a successful stretch as a six-game homestand opens Tuesday. They have won six of their past nine games and maintain a 1.5 game lead in the AL Central as the All-Star break beckons after their next two series at home.
Pitching has been a big reason for Chicago’s rise above Cleveland to the top spot in the division. The Sox rank sixth in the AL with a 3.96 ERA and they rank fifth in strikeouts. They are third in Opposing Batting Average (.242). Only the Rangers have a better team WHIP than Chicago’s 1.23 mark. They are also second in the Majors in Fielding Percentage (.988), as the defense has done a lot to help the pitching staff.
The offense has been quite productive as well, as the Sox rank seventh in MLB in runs scored (368). This is a team that is sharply focused, and talking to the players and coaches, you realize they are very focused and stress the fundamentals. The Sox are a no-nonsense group. They have a clubhouse stocked with veterans and they take the game very seriously. These guys are certainly true professionals, and they certainly have an intense approach to their craft.
The Sox have been in first place for 35 days in 2012, and they have won 23 of 39 road games. They have outscored the opposition by 42 runs, and through Sunday, they were leading the league with a .294 average with Runners in Scoring Position. The Sox are a team that will be a real dangerous opponent in the postseason. Robin Ventura has taken a very serious approach to his first season as a manager, and you can hear and feel the vibe of a team that takes the business of baseball very seriously in these exclusive interviews.
Team captain Paul Konerko continues to defy the fans and media types who have continually, and unsuccessfully predicted his decline year after year. Hitting at a .335 clip, Konerko talks about the keys to his longevity.
Get all the interviews over at TheXLog.