Chris Rongey: White Sox' offense going to need Konerko
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The White Sox' Paul Konerko reacts after striking out against the Angels during the just-completed weekend series.
Now that's more like it.
While I can't really tell you whether the past seven days was an indication of better things to come for the White Sox or just a lone, anomalous week in a 26-week campaign, what I do know is that this is closer to the kind of baseball we've been looking for.
Granted, it has been a week-and-a-half since the Sox have played a team other than the Angels or Twins (two clubs that haven't been much of a threat this season) and they haven't faced a winning team since May 6 when they visited Kansas City.
But so what?
The idea is to beat those that aren't as good, and be respectable against the teams that are. In the last eight games, the Sox have won five.
Regardless of what happened Sunday, this has been, overall, a better week for a team that had, for most of the year, been prone to bad defense and a bland offense.
The revival of Adam Dunn, continued production from Alex Rios and immediate contribution from Dayan Viciedo just off the disabled list have helped give the Sox recently, well, a real offense.
Which leads me to …
Paul Konerko. The White Sox need him.
For better than a decade, Konerko has been the constant in the heart of the Sox order.
Through that period, there hasn't been anyone more dependably important to their run-producing effort with the exception of Frank Thomas. but Frank hasn't been around since 2005.
Unfortunately, that Konerko influence has been mostly absent this season.
It's startling to note that he hasn't homered yet this month (his last coming April 28 against the Rays), and his last extra-base hit coming on May 4.
It's true that a good offensive team can always tread water while a particular middle-of-the-order hitter temporarily scuffles. In fact, most teams have at least one of those guys at any given time.
But, for a club that has had a prolonged stretch of offensive letdown, it's far too costly to much longer go without what is arguably its most essential provider.
It's likely not a good proposition to expect the Rios-Dunn-Viciedo trio to be simultaneously connecting every day for the remainder of the year.
Individually, they'll most certainly hit their momentary valleys as well as they're currently hitting baseballs, so logic dictates the Sox will need Konerko to carry those burdens.
Yes, the most recent string of games for this team has been a welcome alteration of a Sox offense that had been writhing for the first month and a half of the season, and it was a pleasure to watch what they did with the bats this past week.
But to figure they can maintain any offensive consistency without their captain's assistance would be foolish.
Pitching has kept the White Sox from flirting with irrelevance, but an enhanced offense to supplement that pitching is the only avenue this team has to any real chance at a spot in the postseason.
And Paul Konerko must be a significant part of that.
•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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