As was pointed out to me last night, it is horribly unfair that I pick apart the Sox 3 game losing streak and effectively ignore the 7-game winner that preceded it.
Recent road woes notwithstanding, there is no question that the overall outlook for the 2008 Chicago White Sox, who on June 13 own the largest lead of any first place team in baseball (5.5 games), is very sunny.
The Indians and Tigers, consensus picks to finish 1 and 2 in the Central, have been decimated by stretches of anemic offense, horrific pitching, injuries and bad mojo. The Sox' nearest competitor, the Twins, was greeted with a 4-game sweep that last time they visited town.
The Sox themselves, meanwhile, have been the pleasant surprise of the majors so far, entering play tonight at 37-29 and on pace for 90 wins.
How has it happened? Dominant pitching.
Even the biggest of Gavin Floyd doubters, yours truly included, has to admit he's been downright impressive so far this year. Not only has he been nearly unhittable at times, as his .199 BAA suggests, but he's shown laudable poise on the mound-pitching out of jams and on multiple occasions serving as the team's stopper after a rough losing streak. (He'll get another shot at that role tonight vs. the Rockies.)
Even when I tried to point out that his peripherals haven't been as good as his record, he responded by significantly cutting down on his walks-he's only walked one batter in his last 20 innings-en route to three straight victories.
John Danks and Jose Contreras, the other question marks on the mound in the spring, have performed far above expectations as well, making GM Ken Williams look like maybe he did know what he was talking about last offseason after all.
And, led by Carlos Quentin and Alexei Ramirez, the Sox offense has shown it has some youth to it that belies a barren farm system.
The moody offense still gets the most coverage, but all of a sudden this team has serious October aspirations. This is a very good thing.