White Sox, Tigers figure to battle to the finish
Adam Dunn, left, is congratulated by White Sox teammate Kevin Youkilis after hitting career home run No. 400 on Saturday.
Q. Is there any chance that either the White Sox or the Tigers build a large lead in the division before the race is over?
A. Sure, it's possible, but I just can't see it happening. Reason being that neither the Sox nor the Tigers are good enough to be able to do that.
Now, I'm not suggesting that neither of these teams is good, as they both have definite playoff potential.
What I am suggesting, though, is that both teams have their imperfections that likely would prevent one from running away from the other.
Even though the Tigers boast two of the best hitters in the game in Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, the Sox' offense still has been quite comparable this year, and I don't see any reason for that to cease.
In terms of pitching, Detroit has two very good starters in Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer but is somewhat thin beyond that. The Sox, meanwhile, have pitched just as well from top to bottom of the rotation while utilizing a better bullpen throughout the season.
Yes, the Tigers have potential to assemble a late run as they did last year, but the Sox are just as capable. However, the likelihood is that any deficiencies either team might have probably will keep this race close until October.
Quite honestly, I'd be surprised if any more than a couple of games separate the two in the final week of the season, even though Detroit's schedule is easier on paper.
Q. After hitting his 400th home run, what is your impression of the season Adam Dunn is having?
A. I'm pleased with it. And, yes, I recognize that it probably wouldn't have taken all that much, considering the year he had last year.
While he isn't going to hit for average and he leads the league in strikeouts, it almost doesn't really matter. Not when he's also at the top of the league in home runs, walks, and pitches per plate appearance and is in the top 10 in RBI.
It has been a productive year for him, and a good number of his home runs have tied games or given them the lead. The White Sox' offense this year is better, in part, because of Adam Dunn.
Q. What do see happening in the upcoming homestand with the Yankees and the Mariners?
A. Hopefully, better than what we saw in Kansas City.
One of the oddities of the season — and baseball, in general, I guess — is that I'm actually a bit more comfortable about their chances when they play a good team such as the Yankees, Angels, or Rangers than I am when they face the Royals.
Though it doesn't necessarily predict what will happen, what we know has happened is that the Sox have gone 7-3 against New York and Seattle this season (including a four-game split with the Yankees).
Combine that with the fact the Sox have greatly improved their play at home and there's reason to think this week could be a good one.
•Chris Rongey is the host of the White Sox pregame and postgame shows on WSCR 670-AM The Score. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRongey and at chrisrongey.com. Subscriber Total Access members can email him questions each week via our online link.
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