White Sox are starting to click
Slowly but surely, the White Sox are becoming whole.
Juan Pierre has been red-hot out of the leadoff spot for the past week, the Sox (41-42) are a game under .500 for the first time since April 17 and, hey, Adam Dunn didn't go down on strikes during his pinch-hitting appearance in Friday's 6-4 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Add the bullpen to the list, too.
Brian Bruney, Jesse Crain and Sergio Santos each pitched 1 inning of scoreless relief Friday to extend an impressive streak.
"The way the bullpen is going, however Ozzie (Guillen) rolls it out turns out ideal," Bruney said. "We're all complementing one another very well."
Over their last 14 games, White Sox relievers have allowed just 1 earned run in 24.1 innings.
"That's the best thing we have," Guillen said. "The last 20 games, those guys go out of their way to give me innings. Today, we were going to close with Crain, all of a sudden Santos was ready to go. I'm so lucky, I guess, when those guys want to do it for the ballclub."
Santos pitched for the third straight game and got his third straight save. The right-hander has pitched 3 perfect innings over the stretch while striking out six.
That's good news, considering Santos was in danger of losing his job after back-to-back bombs against Oakland in early June.
"I feel good," Santos said after nailing down his 18th save in 20 tries. "I feel like I'm attacking the strike zone and throwing strikes. I'll take my chances with that. If they get basehits and they score, I'll live with that. I just don't want to walk anybody."
Same old story:
Rather than potentially helping an offense that is having more than its share of lulls, Dayan Viciedo is still waiting for the call at Class AAA Charlotte.
Viciedo is batting .329 with 13 home runs, and his 56 RBI are tops in the International League.
Not only was Viciedo named to the IL all-star team, he's also been selected to play in the July 10 Futures Game in Phoenix.
So why is Viciedo still at Charlotte?
One blogger accused the White Sox of keeping their top prospect in the minors to delay his major-league service time, and there has been plenty of speculation that manager Ozzie Guillen doesn't want Viciedo on the roster because it would likely result in Juan Pierre's subtraction.
Guillen tried to explain the situation again before the Sox played the Cubs Friday.
"I already made that thing clear to you guys and the fans, it's nothing against Viciedo, it's nothing against (general manager) Kenny (Williams)," Guillen said. "If we're going to bring Viciedo here, I don't mind, but somebody has to go. It's not my decision. I don't release people, I don't sign people. But in the meanwhile if we think we need Viciedo, why not bring him here?
"I don't think I'm standing in anybody's way, if people think I am, no. I just think I'm happy with what I have and who's the man out? Like I said earlier, and I keep saying, we cannot play with a 26-man roster.
"If we play with 25 and Viciedo comes here, he's playing. But he's not here and I don't have to worry about it. They have to pick somebody and we'll figure it out."
There is no designated hitter in the National League, so Adam Dunn was held out of the White Sox' starting lineup Friday.
Dunn did pinch hit for starting pitcher Edwin Jackson in the seventh inning, drawing a walk off Cubs starter Randy Wells and scoring on Juan Pierre's triple.
He is expected to play in at least one of the Sox' final two games against the Cubs this weekend, either at first base or in right field.
When the White Sox get back to playing American League teams Monday when the Royals visit U.S. Cellular Field, manager Ozzie Guillen said Dunn is going to be back in the lineup on a regular basis, and he'll bat third in front of Paul Konerko.
Before walking Friday, Dunn was 2-for-29 with 16 strikeouts in his last eight games.
"What are my choices?" Guillen said. "He's going to be batting third and we'll see what happens. Hopefully he sees better pitches because PK is behind him. Now it's going to be on him. You're playing, you're batting third. Get a good pitch to hit and hopefully you do. That's all I can do. Play him.
"Every time I bench his name, it costs a lot of money, and every time this guy goes to the plate, there's a lot of hope and a lot of good things can happen. It hasn't happened yet, but every time he's out there, we feel pretty good."
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