Sox Finally On Track, Buehrle Rocks Again

Mark FodorCorrespondent IJuly 2, 2009

ST PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 03:  Starting pitcher Mark Buehrle #56 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 2 of the American Leaugue Divisional Series at Tropicana Field on October 3, 2008 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

After what seemed like an eternity of our South Siders scuffling along at a few games under .500, the Boys in Black have finally woken up. Tonight's 4-1 victory over the surprisingly not awful Kansas City Royals puts the White Sox at 41-38 on the season, trailing Detroit by only two and a half games, with 83 left to play.

I guess Ozzie's relentless negativity has finally worked!

All we've heard all season from the fearless skipper is "this team [bleeping] stinks," "we can't hit worth a [bleep]," and so on. And deservedly so, because until this current hot streak the Sox were definitely an underachieving, mediocre squad.

Things are starting to change. The Sox have won ten of their last twelve. Gordon Beckham has been a revelation in his first professional season, providing firepower from the hot corner.

I just added him to my Yahoo!Fantasy Double Baggers, at the expense of the solid but mundane Captain Paulie. You also can't ignore the resurrection of World Series hero Scott Podsednik, who has seemingly come out of nowhere to make a huge contribution at the top of the order.

Despite missing Carlos Quentin and getting some serious injury time from Jermaine Dye, the Sox bats are heating up at just the right time. After this four gamer in KC, the Pale Hose have crucial series against fellow AL Central denizens Cleveland and Minnesota.

On a personal note, my all-time favorite Sox player, SP Mark Buehrle, has been the definition of an ace and team leader all year long. He went 8.1 innings tonight, scattering six hits and allowing one run to move to 8-2 on the season with an ERA right around 3.00 and a low, low WHIP around 1.10.

Sure, he's not a strikeout king, but if he keeps pitching like this, the Sox will have a rock to rally around for the playoff push. I have seen a lot of All-Star lineups that don't include Buehrle, who I believe has been to the midsummer classic four times already at the age of 30.

Granted, the AL is loaded with talent like KC's Zach Greinke, Seattle's Felix Hernandez, Toronto's Roy "Doc" Halladay, and Detroit's mean starting rotation including Verlander and Edwin Jackson. But none of those guys are leaders, role models, and consistency masters like Buehrle. Even Halladay is a lock for the DL at least once a year.

I think Buehrle is a no-brainer for an All-Star selection. Matt Thornton's name has been bandied around by many, including Ozzie himself, but I think that if the Sox only get one in, it should be Number 56.

Sorry, Cubs fans, but the best team in the Chi and the best starter in the Tristate Area both reside on the South Side. Let's go go go go White Sox.