Rejuvenated Paul Konerko Gives Chicago White Sox a Boost in the Stretch Run

Steve JankowskiAnalyst ISeptember 2, 2008

It wasn't that long ago that the sports-talk radio hosts in Chicago were calling for the benching of Paul Konerko. With a batting average just above the Mendoza line, plenty of fans were joining in those calls.

White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen stuck with his slugging first baseman, and the club is benefiting now that Konerko is producing in the middle of the lineup.

Konerko has experience in pennant races, being part of the last two White Sox teams to reach the postseason. 

He was an integral part of the 2005 team that won a World Series title, and he was ALCS MVP that October.

Should Konerko continue his solid production, he could give the White Sox the boost they need to hold off the Minnesota Twins and win the AL Central.

Konerko seems to have shaken off the hand injury that led to his slow start.

A new approach and better eye at the plate have also helped him raise his batting average to .236, after having it hover around .215 in mid-July.

Nick Swisher may be the better first baseman defensively, but with Konerko returning to form, and Jim Thome continuing to produce at DH, Konerko will stay at first and Swisher will patrol the outfield.

The best case for White Sox fans is for Konerko to continue his solid play and lead the team, on and off the field, to the playoffs for the second time in four years. 

That just might leave those talk-radio hosts speechless.