It's high times on the South side, now that seven straight victories have brought the Sox into 1st place for the first time since the beginning of the month. May 30th is already later than the Sox were in 1st place at any point last season. Last season was rough.
Paul Konerko's 14-game hitting streak came to an end Tuesday, but he won American Player of the Week honors for hitting 14 of 24 with four doubles, three home runs, two walks, ten runs scored and ten RBI.
Konerko is now the only American League player to win the award twice this season, which might be more conducive to being named MVP than leading the league in wins above replacement. That said, something drastic will have to happen for Josh Hamilton to fall out of favor.
Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has been referring to Konerko as having "the best approach in baseball" of recent, and elaborated further on a recent podcast, describing it as "Konerko has an oval, and anything outside of it, he doesn't swing at. Anything inside of it, he kills."
Mark Gonzales points out that Konerko's hitting skills have driven his success more than most, since his lack of speed makes him almost completely incapable of legging out an infield hit.
Magglio calls it quits
Now that the baseball season is two months in and hasn't featured any Magglio Ordonez, he's announcing his retirement and the Tigers are setting up to celebrate his career. Since the White Sox won the title the season after he left under contentious circumstances, and the bulk of Ordonez's playoff appearances and national exposure came in Detroit.
However, he played 154 more games in a White Sox uniform than a Detroit one, and saw the peak of his power-hitting career in Chicago, compiling four straight 30+ HR seasons from 1999-2002. It ended in 2003, when he hit 29. He also represented the White Sox in four All-Star games.
There was a point in time where Magglio was on the same team with Frank Thomas and Paul Konerko, and was better than both of them.
Konerko called him, "Definitely the best all-around player that I played with."
Cooper has no time for pitch counts
Don Cooper lashed out at suggestions that Chris Sale ran up too high of a pitch count on Monday, and did so with vigor.
"This pitch count thing, we’re in the American League," Cooper said. "We’re not in Little League. But nevertheless, people that bring up pitch counts are people who have nothing else to really know. And it just blows me away. They’re doing that to say, ‘God forbid if someone goes down, I told you so.’ And these are people that are not in the arena and never really played, so what kind of validity does any of that hold?
Cooper referred to the White Sox excellent history of maintaining player health--as has become his habit--and also cited the cautious current treatment of John Danks. He also referred to the Sox as "skipping sidelines " (throwing sessions), which would be more of a troubling practice, but he could have been alluding to it as a common step taken by the team.
Above all, if Sale is going to be a starter, he's going to need to have a starter workload, and 115 relative low-stress pitches on a day where he has the best stuff of his life is hardly a bad maximum to have.
And if there needs to be further confirmation of how good Chris Sale's stuff was Monday, look no further than B.J Upton's facial expression, or check out Michael Barr of FanGraphs' piece on Sale's increased velocity in his last start.