1). The White Sox Look For Real
The way the Chicago White Sox are playing right now, they look like a threat to run away and hide in the AL Central.
Last season the KC Royals dominated the division from start to finish. The strong start from the White Sox makes it doubtful something similar will happen this season.
The White Sox expected to contend in 2015. In fact, they were a trendy pick to defeat the defending AL champion Kansas City Royals for the AL Central title. Instead, the White Sox finished 76-86 and were never really in the running.
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Instead of blowing things up, the White Sox again added pieces to make a run at the AL Central title. This time, it looks like they got it right. New acquisitions second baseman Brett Lawrie and third baseman Todd Frazier have boosted what was a terrible offense in 2015, while the team has gotten bounce-back seasons from outfielders Melky Cabrera and Avisail Garcia.
While skeptics will point out that the White Sox are probably pitching a bit above their heads with a 3.10 staff ERA so far in 2016, Mat Latos has turned some heads with a 5-0 record with 2.62 ERA in his first six starts.
If Latos can continue to turn his career around after an awful 2015 season (4-10, 4.95 ERA while pitching for three teams), he’ll form a solid rotation trio along with ace Chris Sale (7-0, 1.79 ERA) and Jose Quintana (5-1, 1.38 ERA).
Meanwhile, relievers Zach Duke (2.63 ERA) and Nate Jones (1.84 ERA) have given closer David Robertson (1.23 ERA, 10 saves) outstanding set-up men. Now it’s the White Sox with the formidable back end trio.
Skeptics, however, will point out that the Chicago White Sox have been the most CLUTCH team in baseball and are not likely to sustain this performance. Thus, the runs might dry up and bring the White Sox back to earth. No matter, even if the Sox play .500 ball the rest of the season they’d still win 87 games.
The smart money says the White Sox are going to be in the AL Central race for the long haul.