When the White Sox are introduced before Friday afternoon's home opener against the Detroit Tigers, they deserve to file out of the dugout with their heads held high.
After completing an abbreviated two-game sweep over Indians with a 10-6 win at Progressive Field on Wednesday afternoon, former hitting star/current Comcast SportsNet analyst Frank Thomas said the Sox are playing like a team that can "sneak into the playoffs."
Let's not go that far. The White Sox (3-2) had a successful trip to open the season, but there are still 157 games on the schedule.
Let's just say the Sox successfully cleared the first hurdle, and we'll see if they can keep it going at U.S. Cellular Field.
There was an important development in the win over Cleveland.
After Tuesday night's game was postponed due to poor weather, the Sox came out against Justin Masterson in Wednesday's matinee and pounded the Indians' ace early, scoring 4 runs on 3 hits, an error and wild pitch in the first inning.
That set the stage for the offensive outburst, which the White Sox needed.
While splitting the first four games of the season, the Sox scored 10 total runs and relied on standout pitching to stay afloat.
Jumping on Masterson early took the pressure off starter John Danks, who earned his first win of the season despite allowing 4 runs on 7 hits and 5 walks in 5 innings.
"You've got to give a lot of credit to the offense," Danks told reporters. "It's a tough day to pitch. You saw every pitcher who went in there ... it was cold out there. But we both have to play there, so I'm just happy to get the win."
Nothing went right for Danks early in 2011, and the left-hander went 0-8 before getting into the win column.
"At least I didn't have to wait until June (6) to win," Danks said. "All the credit goes to the offense. I was very fortunate to get those runs, especially against Masterson. He's one of the best."
The White Sox entered the game as one of the American League's worst teams in batting average (.221), runs scored and on-base percentage (.279).
But they battered Masterson and four Indians relievers for 10 runs on 11 hits while going 6-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
A.J. Pierzynski sparked the attack, going 3-for-4 with 4 RBI. The veteran catcher's 3-run homer in the sixth inning off left-hander Rafael Perez sealed the win for the Sox.
"He hung a slider," Pierzynski told reporters. "I've been facing (Perez) for years and he always makes good pitches, a good slider, good slider, good slider. Finally, he missed with one and I made contact."
Leadoff man Alejandro De Aza continued to make impressive contact, going 2-for-5 with a 2-run homer.
Paul Konerko (2-for-3, 2 RBI) stayed hot in the early going, and Adam Dunn shook off an early slump with 2 hits and 1 RBI.
When they face the Tigers on Friday, maybe the Sox will start combining good hitting with good pitching.
"This sounds corny, but it's a little bit of Americana when you come and have the opener at home and everyone comes out with all the bunting and everything," Ventura said. "It's fun. I'm looking forward to it."