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updated: 6/8/2014 5:48 PM

Can this White Sox team make a long run?

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  • Sox hitters started strong while the pitchers struggled early. Now the pitching is solid and the hitters have dropped off. The White Sox are hoping they both come together soon.

      Sox hitters started strong while the pitchers struggled early. Now the pitching is solid and the hitters have dropped off. The White Sox are hoping they both come together soon.
    Associated Press

 
 

If there's one thing this season has been so far for the White Sox, it's consistent. Consistent in the sense that it fluctuates at such a rapid pace, it seems like nothing changes.

No prolonged successes or failures have led to a record that has hovered close to .500 for the entire season. In fact, the White Sox have spent every day no more than two games away from .500 in any direction, with the exception of May 15th. On that day, they were 19-22.

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The question is, will this team make any kind of run, one way or another? The longest streak they've had is a losing one that lasted four games (and they've done that three times). Meanwhile, they've won three in a row just once through the first two months.

To get an answer to the question, we have to examine how they got to where they are now. Really, it's interesting how it's worked to this point with an offense that had been one of the better ones in the game for nearly two months and a pitching staff trying to find its way.

In the last couple of weeks, however, those roles have reversed fairly dramatically. Starting pitchers for the White Sox since May 17 have the best ERA in the American League and opponents are barely hitting over .200 against them. On the other hand, the offense spent that same time hitting 100 points worse with runners in scoring position compared to their season average. They watched their on-base plus slugging percentage fall considerably as well.

Hitting up, pitching down. Pitching up, hitting down. This is a formula for a .500 record. Clearly, in order for any kind of run to happen, both areas need to be in sync. Naturally, the Sox are hoping they both fall in line positively.

And soon.

The good news is they've gone through short offensive slumps a couple of times already and they've rebounded each time. They also seem to be showing signs of rising out of their current slump, but they still have work to do and a long way to go.

The truth is it was always going to be difficult for the Sox to maintain that early-season production at the plate, so regression from players such as Dayan Viciedo and Tyler Flowers isn't unexpected. Even with Jose Abreu's addition, the Sox will unlikely be a top American League offense by the time we get to September.

That isn't surprising, and it also doesn't mean they're the same team as last year. I don't think there's any question the White Sox are a better club than in 2013, and my prediction is the record at the end of the season will prove that.

Based on the first third of the season, the Tigers have shown they may not be up for running away with the division anytime soon, which leaves the door open for any AL Central team to get their affairs in order.

For the Sox to have any chance, they'll have to do that soon before Detroit decides to wake up.

• 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.

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