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White Sox Fri May 23 2008
So are these the REAL White Sox, the ones who have won eight in a row? The ones who have now swept Cleveland, swept San Francisco and went 7-for-10 on their recent mini-West Coast road trip? The ones who have done all that with a combination of solid pitching, patience at the place and (of course) the long ball? The ones who have discovered the art of actually breaking up a potential double play?
Or are they the ones we saw earlier this month, the ones who dropped a two-game mini-series against the Minnesota Twins and then four straight to the Toronto Blue Jays?
You’d like to think that the squad we saw Thursday night in their 3-1 victory over the Indians is the real deal, the physical manifestation of what General Manager Kenny Williams had in mind when he signed a questionable Octavio Dotel, who appeared in all of nine games last season; gambled that Jose Contreras would bounce back from a crap-tacular 2007, dealt staff co-ace Jon Garland to Anaheim for (huh?) a shortstop when they team already had, like, a gazillion of them; and took a chance that some kid named Carols Quentin might be able to last in the starting lineup.
But with that aforementioned eight-game winning streak, a 26-20 record and a three-and-a-half game lead in the AL Central, you’d like to think that, yeah, they are who we think they are (to paraphrase Dennis Green). Still, the memory of 2007 dies hard. After a respectable start, the team’s record stood at 25-25 on June 1 and they never saw .500 again as they finished the season 72-90.
White Sox fans are like (Warning: obscure adolescent reference ahead) Glum from the old “Adventures of Gulliver” cartoon, wary of any success and mumbling “We’re doomed, we’re doomed” as they wait for the other shoe to fall. I should know, I am one and am STILL waiting for proof positive we won it all in 2005.
So what’s a Sox fan to think when, despite all of those gambling roster moves and preseason predictions of, at best, a third place finish in the division, they’re sitting on top of the division? When they’ve weathered dismal outings by Mark Buehrle and received national scrutiny after The Blowup Doll Incident (they’re 12-4 since Inflate-gate, by the way)? Hell, even Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti is singing their praises, although to be fair, Mariotti (aka The Human Weathervane) was calling them everything but Children of Satan as recently as May 7.
Sure, there are still potential problems on the horizon (See what I mean? Glum? Adventures of Gulliver?). They’re still searching for a true leadoff hitter and have put feelers out for Chone Figgins of the Angels. And a dip in production from big boppers Paul Konerko and Jim Thome is a cause for concern.
So as they try to keep the streak alive tonight against the Angels, we’ll just take each game as it comes and root for the Sox. Whoever they may be.