Riding a five-game winning streak into the final day before the All-Star break, the Chicago White Sox have quieted the chorus of preseason naysayers by sitting comfortably atop the AL Central division.
White Sox All-Stars Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko have led the charge on offense, while All-Star pitchers Chris Sale and Jake Peavy have been locking down opposing hitters all season. The White Sox currently have reached their high-water mark for the year at 10 games over .500.
Acquired in a June 24th trade with the Boston Red Sox, Kevin Youkilis has breathed new life into his somewhat sagging career. Youkilis, who continued his season-long struggles immediately after joining the White Sox, has been gaining new Chicago fans every day during the White Sox's current six-game homestand, going 8-for-19 with three homers and nine runs driven in through five games.
Following a three-game sweep of the two-time defending AL Champion Texas Rangers this past week, the White Sox still find themselves in the playoff hunt, just months after an excruciating offseason when fan expectations were quite low.
Now at the halfway point in the season, all the talk of rebuilding and a talent-poor farm system seems to be a distant memory. This White Sox team is emerging as contenders, and the White Sox faithful should be checking into U.S. Cellular Field in droves this summer to see how it will all play out.
With the team's outlook suddenly looking much more upbeat these days, should White Sox fans temper their rebooted expectations, or should they get out the paintbrush and splash "Youk!" all over their poster boards?
Here are seven bold White Sox predictions for the second half of the season.