I get tired of articles that start with "don't look now". By all means, LOOK! NOW! The White Sox just ripped off their longest stretch of good baseball of the season.
It just so happened that this stretch is only three games long.
But still! The returns are everywhere.
Monday night's 8-0 cruise over the Los Angeles Angels Who Play Somewhere Else coupled with the Twins' extra-inning loss means that the South Side is no longer the home for the worst baseball in the major leagues. And their run differential is only 4th-worst in the AL! Cocktails for everyone! Kids too!
As Jim Margalus pointed out already in his recap, the offense hasn't reinvented the batting glove in scoring 19 runs in the past three games--they're pounding hittable pitches. Earvin Santana hung sliders all night, Brandon League tried to challenge the heart of the order with all fastballs on Sunday, and Doug Fister tried to live up in the zone at 88mph on Saturday.
But hitting pitchers who are more or less asking for it (or at least suggesting it), seemed like an impossible task just last week when the Sox were busy reviving the careers of Nick Blackburn and Francisco Liriano. If the Sox can actually be counted upon to hit pitches major league hitters have been known to whack, the focus can return to where it belongs...the fact that the offense hasn't needed to do much.
Over the last 7 games, White Sox pitching has reeled off quality starts in every outing, and a filthy 1.57 ERA. That's bound to regress once the the run of light-hitting AL West teams come to a close, but after the 2nd straight productive outing from Edwin Jackson (7IP, 0 R, 5 K), every starter is trending upward in a way that actually makes it a question of what need Jake Peavy is filling (answer: the need to overwhelm the division with rotation depth).
Can the Indians be expected to slow down? Can a team drop 11 games below .500 and still mount a legit playoff bid? It's very unclear, but now that the Sox are actually showing what they're capable of, it feels less stupid to ask.