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South Side Story: White Sox Win Sixth Straight

Photo credit: USA Today

Photo credit: USA Today

Mid-week found the Chicago White Sox stealing a bit of the Chicago Cubs’ thunder by compiling the best record in Major League Baseball, 16-6. The ChiSox shut out the Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday, April 27th, completing a three-game sweep of the Jays at Rogers Centre. Meanwhile a rainout precluded the North Siders’ bid to improve on their National League leading 15-5 mark and claim bragging rights as the best record in Major League Baseball.

Though pre-season analysts gave the Cubs most of the attention, with many forecasting a 2016 World Series at Wrigley Field, the South Siders have elbowed their way into the post-season conversation.

During the series in Toronto the Sox out-scored the normally hard-hitting Jays 21-6, with the Jays scoring all but one of their runs in Monday’s opener. Chris Sale (5-0, 1.66 ERA) breezed his way to a 10-1 decision in Tuesday’s game, allowing just six base runners and one run over eight innings.

In Wednesday’s finale, the Sox won 4-0 behind a 10 strikeout performance by Sale’s fellow southpaw Jose Quintana (3-1, 1.47 ERA). Veteran catcher Dioner Navarro drilled a two-out, two-run triple in the seventh to break the ice in a fine pitcher’s duel between Quintana and Jays starter Marco Estrada (1-2, 2.92). Center fielder Austin Jackson followed with a triple to plate Navarro. The Sox tacked on a run in the eight on an Avisail Garcia RBI single.

Two sweeps in a row – the White Sox vanquished the Texas Rangers at home over the weekend – was not a bad warm up to a four game set against the Orioles at Camden Yards that will take Robin Ventura‘s squad into May Day.

The White Sox hot start surprises some in the wake of the Adam LaRoche retirement controversy at the close of Spring Training. The fiery Sale, reportedly a central figure in a club house-front office confrontation, has responded to the supposed dissension by claiming the American League lead in wins (five) and least walks and hits per inning pitched (.684).

Chris Sale

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In addition to outstanding pitching at the front of the starting rotation (including Mat Latos, who was snubbed by many clubs during his free agency), set-up man Nate Jones and closer David Robertson have been reliable, each posting earned run averages south of 1.00.

Off-season acquisitions Todd Frazier (5 HR, 13 RBI) and Brett Lawrie have tightened the White Sox infield, and Adam Eaton is off to an excellent start at the plate and defending right field. Left fielder Melky Cabrera is batting over .300 with an on-base percentage near .400.

The season is long, and leads can change like the prairie winds. As April comes to a close, though, Chicago baseball fans have reasons to be excited about the annual Crosstown Classic (July 25th-28th) and may be forgiven for dreaming of a Subway Series so early in the season.

Tim is a lifelong baseball (especially Cubs) fan, member of SABR, and player of Out of the Park Baseball. Recently he caught the genealogy bug and is researching his family history. He is originally from Chicago, but now lives in Columbia, MO, with his wife, two daughters, and two dogs.

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