Hey, remember when White Sox fans were worried sick about the offense?
Remember when the Sox lost three out of four to Tampa Bay and were less likely to score than a geeky high schooler on prom night?
Remember when the Minnesota Twins were just a half-game back of first place?
Yeah, neither do I.
In one of the best homestands in team history, the Chicago White Sox won seven out of seven games, sweeping a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals and then a four-game set with the second-place Minnesota Twins.
Before returning to U.S. Cellular Field, the White Sox had scored 23 runs in their previous seven games.
Then, the White Sox came home and decided they'd turn U.S. Cellular Field into the world's largest beer league softball stadium, scoring a ridiculous 61 runs in seven games—good for an average of just over 8.5 runs/game. All that was missing was the keg at first base.
The Sox outscored Kansas City and Minnesota 61-26 on the homestand, hitting 19 home runs and amassing a whopping 90 hits. In fact, the White Sox never got less than ten hits in any game on the homestand.
Joe Crede hit five home runs and saw his batting average spike from .264 at the end of the Tampa Bay series to .291 after the White Sox' 7-5 win over Minnesota on Monday.
Orlando Cabrera was hitting .241 a week ago. He's now up to .263.
Alexei Ramirez? Even better. The "Cuban Missile" was hitting .255 on June 1 before catching fire and now is hitting .291.
Nick Swisher and Paul Konerko finished the Tampa Bay series hitting .201 and .205, respectively. Swisher is now hitting .228 and has slammed three home runs in the last two games (including one from both sides of the plate in Monday's win) and Konerko is up to .216 after hitting the game-winning home run off Matt Guerrier on Monday.
Jermaine Dye spiked his batting average from .288 to .299 and leads the White Sox in hitting after punishing the ball on homestand.
Getting tired of this? Just one more. AJ Pierzynski raised his batting average from .288 to .297 on the homestand.
Yes, Carlos Quentin's batting average has dropped below .280 and Jim Thome's has stayed around .210, but the White Sox offense was good enough on the homestand to overcome some of the outs made by these two players.
And, as I said in an earlier article—if anybody deserves a slump, it's Carlos Quentin. He carried this offense from early April through late June, and there's nothing wrong with him slumping a bit—especially when the rest of the offense is doing so well.
Say what you will about the pitching the Sox faced, but any time a team scored 61 runs in a series, that's impressive, especially considering what the team did offensively in Tampa Bay ( albeit against very good pitching).
So now, the White Sox are 37-26 (20-9 at home, 17-17 on the road) and sit 6.5 games ahead of Minnesota for first place in the AL Central.
Unfortunately for the Sox, it's only June 9. But right now, it would take a massive collapse and/or an unexpected run by Cleveland, Minnesota, Detroit, or Kansas City to knock the Sox off their first-place pedestal.
The best part, however, may be that the Sox only six games away from Chicago until the All-Star break. They start a three-game set with Detroit tomorrow in the Motor City before heading home to play three-game sets with Colorado and Pittsburgh.
Then comes the first installment of what could be the biggest crosstown series Chicago has ever seen with a three-game set at Wrigely Field. After that, the Sox travel out west to play the Dodgers for three games and then head back to the South Side for three-game series against the Cubs and Indians and a four-game set against Oakland to round out the schedule before the All-Star break.
This stretch of games could be the best time for the Sox to really put some distance between themselves and the rest of the AL Central.
So sit back, relax, and strap it down: it could be one wild, fun ride for the White Sox comping up.
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