They said it: Best of White Sox musings through up-and-down first half of season
It was quite the first half of the season for the White Sox.
When they rolled out to a 6-2 start, it looked like another easy ride in the AL Central was in the works.
A string of injuries and an eight-game losing streak soon followed, and the Sox quickly shifted from being a lock to make the playoffs for the third straight year to baseball's most underachieving team.
Winning 5 of 6 at Cleveland and Minnesota and hitting the all-star break at .500 (46-46) and only 3 games behind the first-place Twins has the White Sox feeling pretty good about themselves again.
In the words of Sox players and a staff, here's how the up-and-down first half played out:
"We have very high aspirations for this club. We have very high hopes and goals in terms of what we want to accomplish. From a shorter-term view, that means winning the division. Putting it even shorter, that means winning series to put ourselves in the best position to win the division."
-- General manager Rick Hahn on April 12 before the White Sox's home opener.
"This was the best start of my career, by far."
-- Dylan Cease on May 2 after allowing 1 hit over 7 innings in a 3-0 win over the Angels. The right-hander also had 11 strikeouts, three of them vs. Mike Trout.
"He made a racist comment, and that's all I'm going to say."
-- Manager Tony La Russa on May 21, referring to New York third baseman Josh Donaldson calling Sox shortstop Tim Anderson Jackie Robinson during a game at Yankee Stadium.
"I've said it to him in years past. Not in any manner than just joking around for the fact that he called himself Jackie Robinson. So if something has changed from that, my meaning of that is not in any term trying to be racist. That's what he called himself, and we've said that before. We joked about it. He laughed, whatever. Obviously, he deemed that it was disrespectful. And, look, if he did, I apologize. That's not what I was trying to do, by any manner."
-- Donaldson giving his side of the controversy on May 25.
"I don't think we need to grave-dance on this too much. The decision has been made, and we're moving on."
-- Hahn on May 28 after Dallas Keuchel (2-5, 7.88 ERA in 8 starts) was designated for assignment.
"I mean, is that really a question? If somebody disagrees, that's the beauty of this game. You're welcome to it. But that wasn't a tough call."
-- La Russa after a June 9 loss to the Dodgers on why he intentionally walked Trea Turner on a 1-2 count. Max Muncy followed with a 3-run homer.
"I like that they're here and they care. If they're displeased and it's with me, I would rather them be here and care then not care and not be here."
-- La Russa on being booed and the "Fire Tony" chants from the crowd at Guaranteed Rate Field during a June 22 loss to the Blue Jays.
"I understood my swing and how I wanted to attack balls. Now I have to recover my knee. I get to heal, get stronger, be ready for spring training. I can implement all that with having a strong physical physique."
-- Infielder Danny Mendick on June 23 after going down for the season with a knee injury.
"We're better than that. In this league, you either do or you don't and when you don't, whether you're players or the manager, you just take the heat. Fans didn't come out to watch us get beat that easily. I take the heat for not getting us ready to play. I don't know what else to say."
-- La Russa after the Sox lost 4-1 to the Orioles June 24.
"Something needs to happen because there's way too many people losing their lives. I don't think enough is being done. There's two sides and the two sides need to meet somewhere in the middle and figure this out."
-- White Sox closer Liam Hendriks on the July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park.
"Bad play. I made a mistake on it. Unfortunate. Cost us some runs right there. We probably would have gone on to win the game, so it's tough."
-- Adam Engel on a base-running gaffe that resulted in a triple play during a July 4 loss to the Twins.
"There's still a lot of season left. I wouldn't count us out of it yet."
-- Cease after the Sox lost to the Tigers 2-1 on July 7 to fall to 39-42.
"The explanation doesn't jump out at you. We haven't been as productive so we've got to come up with some answers."
-- La Russa July 8 on the team's 17-24 home record.
"I don't know."
-- Lucas Giolito when also asked about the Sox's poor home record on July 8.
"It means a lot. For people to be paying attention and root for me and vote for me, I'll forever be thankful for them making that happen."
-- Anderson on being voted the American League starting shortstop for the All-Star Game.
-- White Sox VP Kenny Williams on his talk with players and staff before a July 8 game vs. Detroit.
"We're chasing them in the standings right now. It was important to make a statement and show that we're still here. I think it's going to be a good second half." -- Cease after another strong start in Sunday's 11-0 win at Minnesota to close out the first half.