By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) Well, the White Sox have managed to do it again. In a season full of teases, the team is in the middle of its biggest yet, winning five-straight for the first time this year and pulling within four games of the Detroit Tigers.
So, should White Sox fans believe? That’s one of the questions I address in this week’s mailbag.
I’m also going to try something new and address some of the comments I get on Twitter during White Sox games. We usually have a good discussion going during games and figure it will be a good way for me to address some of the comments I miss, while also giving you guys a little Twitter exposure. If you don’t already, you can follow me at @AdamHogeCBS.
Adam, the White Sox have won five in a row and are somehow pulling me back in. Are you buying into this streak or are we just getting set up for the Royals to win two out of three this weekend? – Jim, Cicero
It’s funny you mention the Royals winning 2-of-3 this weekend because my buddy Brendan McCaffrey from 670 The Score already predicted that would happen as we were watching the Sox beat the Orioles again last night. The way this season has gone, it would surprise no one if the White Sox finished off a sweep of the Orioles and went home only to lose three straight to Kansas City.
Baseball Prospectus gives the White Sox a 25.7 percent chance of making the playoffs — up 5.7 percent from Tuesday — but here’s the approach I’m taking with this team (and I advise you to do the same): I’m not going to let myself get fully re-invested in the White Sox until the calendar flips to September. If on September 1 the White Sox are within three games of first place or better, I’ll buy in. If not, the college football season kicks off that night and the Bears play their final preseason game against the Browns. Let’s play some football.
That’s not to say I’m not watching the games or don’t care if the they win or lose. But I’m not going to put any expectations on the White Sox until September. They could very well rip off a great couple weeks and be in first place by the end of their next home stand, but even then, I’m going to look at the fact that their offense ranks towards the bottom of Major League Baseball and have my reservations.
September 1st. That’s the date we re-evaluate this team and decide if should expect them to make the playoffs.
I think the media overplays the Ozzie/Kenny drama. Perhaps this is because there is a lack of interesting games to report? Both men want to win. That passion can often be interpreted as conflict (see A.J.). What’s your perspective? – Rich, Tri-Taylor
Well, the media certainly isn’t making up the conflict, but I get what you are saying. Both really want to win, but they also have different ideas of how to go about winning. They are both strongly opinionated and stubborn people so they are naturally going to clash. Also, not many managers have the leeway Guillen does. He played for the White Sox for a long time and gave Jerry Reinsdorf his only World Series. That’s going to give him more power within the organization than most managers. His opinions on personnel are going to be respected and Kenny Williams has to accept that.
Does the media play it up? I don’t know. I think it’s easy for the media to pick up the feud as a story when things aren’t going well, but that’s also when Ozzie and Kenny are going to clash more. You probably have a little of both going on.
Are you comfortable with Brent Lillibridge playing first base? – Ken, Burr Ridge
Who knew the White Sox would miss Mark Teahen? Just kidding. Lillibridge’s glove at first doesn’t seem to be any worse than Teahen’s and in my opinion he does a lot more with his bat on the base paths. Lillibridge’s WAR is 1.2, which is fifth on the team — not bad for a bench player. Konerko’s knee obviously isn’t well enough to put him in the field and you simply can’t put Adam Dunn in the lineup against lefties. So yes, I’m perfectly fine with Lillibridge playing first base.
OK, on to some tweets:
This was in response to me writing on Twitter that if Konerko couldn’t go from first to third on a double, then he shouldn’t be playing. That happened Monday night when he got thrown out at third on Quentin’s double down the left field line.
But, Max, you’re probably right here. Konerko has seven hits — at least one in each of the last six games — since missing three games with that bruised calf. It’s certainly not fully healed, and might not fully heal if he keeps playing on it, but as long as he keeps hitting, the White Sox certainly need his bat. He might clog up the bases a little bit, but he’s been doing that for years anyway. If the calf isn’t hurting his bat, he can play.
Seems like a stretch Shane, but who knows with this guy. Dunn has hit at least 38 home runs in every season since 2004 and had at least 100 RBIs in all but one of those seasons. For him to be sitting on 11 home runs and 40 RBIs on August 10 is mind-boggling. It wouldn’t surprise me if there is an injury involved, but I doubt it’s eyesight. I think they would have gotten him some glasses if that was the case.
Thanks for the questions this week. You can send future questions to email@example.com or continue the conversation on Twitter by finding me at @AdamHogeCBS.
Adam is the Sports Content Producer for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the Bears, White Sox, Blackhawks and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.