So the White Sox charged into the second half of the season with a 3-2 win over the Astros on Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
That's not bad, but not nearly enough to shake general manager Rick Hahn into thinking he has a team with a realistic shot of making the playoffs.
While the Sox (46-51) do have some nice pieces -- headed by Jose Abreu and Chris Sale -- Hahn realizes he has to collect quite a few more before playing in October becomes a reality.
"Look, we are not where we need to be, we know that," Hahn said before the White Sox came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat Houston. "We are realistic about where we are today. We are realistic about where we are likely to be over the next 10 weeks or so."
That sure sounds like a GM preparing to unload veteran talent before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline -- and Hahn just might be a seller.
But nearly a year into his "reshaping" plan, he is not going to deal just to deal.
"I think if there are opportunities to continue the process we started over a year ago, in terms of putting long-term pieces in place that we feel will allow us to compete on an annual basis, we will follow down those paths," Hahn said. "But we are not going to force anything. There's no urgency to make any moves at this time. It's going to be dictated based upon the fits and what the return is going to be."
With Micah Johnson playing at a very high level for Class AAA Charlotte, slumping second baseman Gordon Beckham is an obvious trade candidate.
So is designated hitter Adam Dunn, who is in the final year of his contract, starting pitcher John Danks and outfielder Dayan Viciedo, who sparked Friday's win with a 2-run homer.
If Hahn has to wait until the off-season to make moves, so be it.
"I certainly don't plan to make any declarations or hang any signs on the front of the ballpark declaring our intentions," Hahn said. "We are going to continue to be consistent and act in the same vain that we have in the past year, and that's trying to find long-term fits that can have an impact here."
The bullpen has been a big problem all season, but if Nate Jones (back) and Matt Lindstrom (ankle) can return from injuries, they would provide immediate relief.
Against the Astros, starter Jose Quintana labored early, throwing 55 pitches through the first 2 innings.
Quintana lasted 5 innings, and Daniel Webb, Ronald Belisario and Zach Putnam took it from there, combining for 4 innings of hitless relief.
Webb (5-2) pitched 2 innings and had 3 strikeouts to earn the win, and Putnam nailed down his second save of the season.
"It's great," Putnam said. "Get the second half here off on the right foot and get it going. It feels good to be able to take some time off and rest a little bit and come back out here and get a win."
Catcher Tyler Flowers, who ended the first half with just 3 hits in 22 at-bats, doubled home Alejandro De Aza with the winning run in the seventh inning.
"It was good timing," Flowers said. "I've been feeling good for the last 10 games. I really haven't had a whole lot of success statistically, but definitely feeling a lot better, seeing the ball better. It was nice to kind of see a lot of the work we've been doing pay dividends, especially in a situation like that."