Were I to be writing the following sentence in July, Iíd be doing it with delight: The White Sox have been in first place every day since Opening Day.
Sounds great, right?
Great, except itís only April 8, and the Sox have purged just six games off the schedule. Ugh.
So, aside from any potential long-term injuries, itís enormously challenging to examine a weekís worth of play and tell you what it all means for the rest of the season.
What we can do, though, is highlight what we know so far:
Pitching has been excellent:
From starter to closer, no AL team pitched better than the Sox did last week.
That includes quality starts from Chris Sale (2 of them), Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd; Dylan Axelrod fell short by a third of an inning.
The bullpen did well in holding leads, and closer Addison Reed allowed just three baserunners in 4 total innings, including 1 hit.
As Iíve said, this is how the Sox will have their best chance of winning the division: pitching. They must be as solid as possible from top to bottom throughout the year if they want to surprise preseason predictors.
As for Jose Quintana, Iíd be lying if I told you I wasnít slightly concerned following his first start. The Sox will absolutely need him to adjust in his next outing, and I think heís smart enough of a pitcher to do that. Weíll find out Friday.
They can hit home runs, (and thatís OK):
Through the opening week, the Sox have gone deep 11 times, which isnít the most in the AL but itís up there, and itís one excellent way to score enough to win.
Often Iíll hear that when a club relies on the home run itís to their detriment.
While certainly an ideal offense is able to score runs when the power is out on any given night, a team that hits a lot of home runs over the course of a campaign will find itself in good position to make the playoffs.
Last year four of the top six teams in the league in home runs went to the postseason, and one of the other two (White Sox) finished just 3 games out.
Scoring runs in bulk is not a bad thing. That means on-base percentage also must be respectable, as hitting 200 solo home runs is really not all that good.
Unless, of course, the team hits 400 total homers, then that would be the greatest hitting team of all time.
Defense? What the Ö :
As a team, theyíve committed 7 errors, which puts them at the top of the American League in a category in which they finished last in 2012 (Sox with the fewest in the league overall with 70). Theyíve erred in every game since Wednesday.
But I can say sincerely that I would be incredibly surprised were that trend to continue.
It isnít often you see a once-constant defensive team that has had little turnover in the starting positions suddenly become unable to pick it and throw it.
Ultimately, theyíll be fine there Ö I think.
üChris 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.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.