The captain just keeps getting better with age. If not for an Adam Dunn base running miscue, Konerko would be sitting above the .400 mark. I suppose we can all settle for the .399 he is now at after a 2-4 day including a three run homer. His 11th homerun of the season came off Ubaldo Jimenez in the fourth inning and it was just a terrific at bat. Konerko fouled off pitches on the outer half time and time again until Jimenez made a mistake. That mistake came in the form of a hanging breaking ball that Paulie deposited into the stands to extend both the lead and his hitting streak. It now sits at 13.
It’s not just the captain swinging a hot stick. Nearly the entire lineup is in a groove right now. The Sox offense completely battered an overwhelmed Indians pitching staff in the three game sweep. Konerko and company scored 35 runs over the weekend. The Cubs may not score 35 runs in June, but the Sox did it over a three day stretch.
Dunn, Viciedo, Rios and Pierzynski are all feeding off Konerko’s amazing first half.
Over Viciedo’s last 13 games, he has belted seven home runs and knocked in 20. The Cuban Tank entered May slugging .366 with an OPS below .600 and is now slugging .486 with an OPS of .774. He has raised his batting average from .196 to .268 during this 13 game tear. Alex Rios has suddenly found his power stroke. Three of his Four home runs have come in the last four days. It would be four if not for robbery of Michael Brantley in the first inning of Saturday’s slug fest.
Adam Dunn is back to being the power hitter Kenny Williams thought he was acquiring. Only Josh Hamilton has more home runs in all of baseball than the resurgent donkey. After a bit of a dip, A.J Pierzynski has found his stroke and is back over the .300 mark.
The point is this offense is rolling. They lead the bigs in nearly every offensive category over the last 13 days. Average, homers you name it, the Sox are leading or are near the top during this explosion. Who are the guys enjoying this the most? The White Sox starters. Over a weekend where the pitching staff gave up 16 runs, you would expect the criticism to be flying, but not this weekend. Not when the offense is playing beer league softball and all you need to do is to get to the 5th inning to get a win.
With the sweep, the White Sox are now a 1/2 game back of the Indians. The way the offense looks now, it’s not about making it interesting through out the summer, it’s about winning a division. The Tigers left the door wide open and the Palehose knocked it down with a battering ram. With the offense catching up to the starting pitching, this is real contender in the Central.
Now these bats will get a heat check as they travel to Tampa Bay tomorrow. The Rays are 9th in the MLB in team ERA and currently sit atop the AL East. The memorial day show down will feature two of the best young arms in the AL in Matt Moore and Chris Sale.
But with the way the White Sox offense is rolling, I wouldn’t count on a pitching duel.
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