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Old 07-02-2005, 02:12 PM   #1
bama4256
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Default The Chicago White Sox are on Fire

For the past few years the Minnesota Twins have dominated the AL Central division.
Winning the AL Central division each season since 2002.

According to most baseball experts, this season wasnít to be much different.

Even though the Twins have one of the smallest payrolls in baseball and no real superstars on their team, theyíre still able to field a competitive team year after year.
Good for them and Major League Baseball.

Currently, the Twins find themselves in second place in the AL Central, trailing the surprising first place Chicago White Sox by nine and a half games.

The good news for the Twins and the rest of the AL Central teams is the fact that there are still three months left in the regular season.

I think it is fair to say that the White Sox have shocked a lot of baseball fans and experts with their play so far this season.

Here it is almost June and the White Sox possess the best record (53-25) in the majors.
This team has been hitting on all cylinders the entire season. .

From what I can gather the White Sox just werenít to be that dominating in 2005.

I donít believe they were predicted to finish any higher that third place in their division this season.

Why such a poor finish you may ask?

It could be because they lost a big part of their offense prior to the start of the 2005 season.

Outfielder Magglio Ordonez was lost to free agency. He signed with the Detroit Tigers.

Outfield slugger Carlos Lee was dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers for light hitting outfielder Scott Podsednik.

Now donít get the wrong idea. Podsednik is a good young player. Heís very quick on the base paths. He just doesnít hit with a lot of power.

Podsednik leads the majors in stolen bases with 40. He led the majors in 2004 with 70 stolen bases.

Like I said earlier, Ordonez will be missed. He was a good hitter with a lot of power, and he served the White Sox well for a number of years. Ordonez had his best year with the White Sox in 2002 hitting 38 homeruns while driving in 135 runs. He batted .320 that season.

But in 2004 Ordonez spent most the season on the DL. He played in only 52 games last season.

As for Lee he hit 31 homeruns while knocking in 99 runs in 2004. This guy is capable of hitting 50 homeruns. His bat will be missed. Great trade for the Brewers.

So far this season for the Brewers, Lee has hit 22 homeruns and knocked in 72 runs. Heís on pace to have his best season ever.

I think another reason why the White Sox didnít win their division was due to their overall pitching in 2004.

The staff just didnít seem to come together last season.

But this season is different. Starting pitchers Jon Garland and Mark Buehrle are pitching great so far this season.

Garland leads the AL in wins with 12 and his ERA is 3.25. Buehrle is 10-1 with an ERA of 2.42. Buehrle leads all pitchers on the team in strikeouts with 79.

Yes, their starting pitching is one reason for their success this year.

They currently rank first in the AL in pitching with a team ERA of 3.47

Orlando Hernandez who is currently on the DL has pitched well. His ERA of 4.88 is a little high, but his record is 7-2. Heís going to rehab in the minors for a while, but hopefully he will be ready after the All-Star break or maybe before.

Freddy Garcia is looking good this season. Garcia is 8-3 with an ERA of 3.29.

Jose Contreras has looked good at times. He is 3-5 with an ERA of 4.34.

The relievers on this team have pitched very well. Cliff Politte is 5-0 with an amazing ERA of 1.14. Neal Cotts is 2-0 with an ERA of 2.05.

Closer Dustin Hermanson has 18 saves on the year. Heís not the best closer in baseball, but he has done well when called upon.

So if the White Sox pitching continues to pitch this well they will be difficult to stop in 2005.

The White Sox hitting has done better than expected this season. They rank seventh in the AL in hitting.

Their leading hitter is first baseman Paul Konerko. In 2004, Konerko hit 41 homeruns while driving in 117 runs. In 2005, he leads the team in homeruns with 19 and in RBIís with 53.

Outfielder Jermaine Dye has provided a good boost to the offense. Dye has 16 homeruns with 37 RBIís. Heís batting .266.

Now this guy has really been hitting the ball well this season. That being outfielder Carl Everett. Everett has 12 homeruns with 49 RBIís. Heís batting .269.

Itís good to have slugger Frank Thomas back in the lineup. Heís starting to hit some homeruns since coming off the DL. If he stays healthy this team could really start to hit in a big way.

I think another reason for this teamís success has been manager Ozzie Guillen. Heís very popular with his players. Now being popular doesnít make you a good manager or a team successful, but this guy has a great attitude and understands the game of baseball inside and out. Heís the perfect match for this team. I have no doubt he will be AL Manager of the Year if the team doesnít go into a tailspin. I donít think it will.

So what are the chances of the White Sox playing as well as they have all season?

Barring any key injuries to their starting pitching staff or to their best hitters like Konerko or Everett, they should win the AL Central with no problems.

How about winning the AL pennant?

Again, if they play like they have been they could go all the way.

The last time the White Sox won their division was in 2000. They were led by manager Jerry Manuel.

The White Sox won 95 games that season, but lost to the Seattle Mariners in the postseason.

Frank Thomas put up some monster numbers in 2000 hitting 43 homeruns while driving in 143 runs. He batted .328 that season.

But now its 2005, and I believe they are a better team than the 2000 squad. Their pitching is a lot better.

Mike Sirotka was the ace of the White Sox pitching staff in 2000. His record was 15-10 with an ERA of 3.79.

The closer was Keith Foulke who led the club with 34 saves.

So what are the chances of the White Sox going to the World Series in 2005?

I think their chances are very good.

The last time the White Sox won a World Series was way back in 1917. They beat the old New York Giants that year.

Players like Shoeless Joe Jackson, Happy Felsch and Eddie Cicotte were the heroes in those days for the White Sox.

Cicotte was a pitcher for the White Sox and won 28 games that season. His ERA for the season was 1.53.

You know how baseball fans love to talk about curses. Well, maybe the White Sox are under a curse themselves.

Since being accused of throwing the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds, the White Sox have gone downhill ever since.

Eight players on the 1919 Chicago White Sox were banned from baseball for life. Shoeless Joe Jackson was one of those players banned.

The White Sox did appear in a World Series in 1959, but they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to two.

They havenít appeared in a World Series since 1959. Ugh!

So the White Sox have been under a long drought. Just like the Boston Red Sox were before winning the 2004 World Series.

Before the 2004 World Series, the Red Sox hadnít won a World Series since 1918.

So the White Sox have plenty of reason to hope. Maybe this will be their year to break the dreaded curse. See you at the game.
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