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The White Sox will need Sergio Santos to continue his ninth-inning dominance.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!
I'm a firm believer that pitching and defense wins championships. If you can throw it and catch it better than your opponent, then you have a much greater chance of winning the series and having a season you can be proud of. Currently, the White Sox don't just have the best pitching in the AL Central, but they are amongst the best in baseball.
They have a young but proven starting rotation that keeps them in every game, minus a hiccup here and there, and one of the strongest bullpens around. They have been able to go with a six-man rotation all season long, even after trading one of their opening day starters right before the deadline. Pitching Coach Don Cooper has proven to be "Miracle Max" with talented hurlers that have failed to live up to their previous potential (Gavin Floyd, Phil Humber, John Danks). They also have some of the most electric arms to close out games (Chris Sale, Sergio Santos, Matt Thornton).
Detroit brought in David Pauley and Doug Fister to try to give Justin Verlander some help and Cleveland acquired Ubaldo Jimenez to give them a front-end guy. But neither team still has the front to back depth the White Sox possess.
That's Gonna Leave a Mark
As good as the White Sox pitchers have been, they still have cause for concern. Phil Humber has come back to Earth after his unexpectedly good start. Jake Peavy has been erratic, fatigued and has won just once in the last two months. Gavin Floyd is starting to regress to the pitcher the Phillies gave up on at the tender age of 23.
Then there are legitimate questions in the bullpen. First-year closer Sergio Santos has been outstanding so far, but this is only his second season pitching in his professional baseball career and you can’t help but wonder if the pressure of a pennant race will take its toll on him. If it does, Matt Thornton proved in the beginning of the season that he is not a closer and there is no one else with real ninth inning experience on the roster.
The ultimate irony for the White Sox this season is the one facet of their team that has kept them afloat could be what sinks their playoff chances.