Can the Rookies Keep It Up?
The White Sox rookies are a big reason why they have a three game lead at the All-Star break. This year’s White Sox team can be compared to the 1990 team that had a lot of young contributors.
Nate Jones, Hector Santiago and Addison Reed have given the White Sox some stability in the bullpen. The White Sox have used 18 pitchers already this season due to injuries and ineffectiveness.
Eight rookies currently make up the pitching staff. Reed’s 13 Saves currently rank tenth in the American League and he did not open the season as the closer. Jones has 38 strikeouts in 37 innings. The biggest story among the rookie pitchers is starter Jose Quintana. Quintana was brought up three times before sticking to the major league roster. In ten starts, Quintana is 4-1 with a 2.04 ERA. In nine of the ten starts he has given up two runs or less. Quintana won his one bad start after battling for six innings giving up six runs. His two starts prior to that he gave up no runs in 14 innings with two no decisions. He certainly deserved the win. Jordan Danks has also been a pleasant surprise in the outfield off the bench. He is hitting .385 in 14 games.
Can Jake Peavy Stay Healthy?
This is already the most innings that Peavy has pitched since 2008. He earned the third all-star appearance of his career and first since 2007. He is currently fourth in the AL in innings pitched, fourth in WHIP and third in batting average against. He has pitched better than his 7-5 record.
Do Chris Sale's innings need to be limited?
Coming into this season, the most innings Sale had pitched was according to Sports Illustrated, 138 2/3 between college, the minors and the White Sox in 2010. There has been a lot of discussion on limiting Sale’s innings for the rest of the season. They skipped his final start on Sunday before the All-Star Game and asked for his appearance to be limited to one inning in the Mid-Summer Classic. They have also pushed him back a few times. The White Sox will probably skip him a few times and push him back a few others to preserve him for September.
Can the Veterans Having Bounce Back Years Continue Their Pace?
Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, Peavy and Kevin Youkilis (since coming over from Boston) have all had bounce back years. Their ability to continue their strong play will be paramount to the White Sox success. Peavy and Dunn were All-Stars, Rios could have been and had the White Sox had Youkilis for the entire season with the same production he’s given them so far he could have been too. Their veteran leadership with Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski have been important for first year manager Robin Ventura.
How will Robin Ventura handle a pennant race?
The White Sox last five managers have taken their first job with the White Sox. All but Terry Bevington made the playoffs during their tenure.
Gene Lamont and Ozzie Guillen made the postseason in their second seasons and Jerry Manuel his third. Even Bevington only missed the wildcard by three games during his first season in 1998.
Ventura had made many of the right moves so far. With Santiago struggling, he put Reed into the closer role and has played Youkilis everyday since they acquired him. The Greek God of Walks has played both first and third.
He has been able to put the focus back on the team and away from the drama that seemed prevalent under Guillen. The White Sox have a more relaxed clubhouse and the team seems to have responded to that. With a veteran team and staff, Rockin’ Robin should be able to be a good leader and accept the responsibilities and the pressures that come with managing in a pennant race.