3 to Watch: The 'Rebuilding or better?' edition
White Sox general manager Ken Williams said he was rebuilding. He also said the Sox would be 'a lot better than some people think.' So far, they are a lot better, and first baseman Paul Konerko is a lot better than most people realize. 3 to Watch wonders if the White Sox can keep it up when they visit the Rays this week.
|Alejandro De Aza is batting .317 during his past 26 games. (US Presswire)|
Remember, the White Sox were rebuilding.
I didn't say it. Ken Williams did, and he's the White Sox general manager.
Of course, Williams also said this spring, "I think we're going to be a lot better than some people think -- a lot better."
By "some people," Williams meant the scout I had talked to this spring, the one who suggested that the White Sox could lose 100 games.
Well, we've reached Memorial Day, and I'm still wondering whether the White Sox are rebuilding or not.
I do know that they're proving to be a lot better than some people think. And I know that their first baseman, Paul Konerko, is once again showing that he's a lot better than most people realize.
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The White Sox aren't going to lose 100 games. They'd need to go 36-78 the rest of the way to do it, and no White Sox team since 1932 has gone 36-78 over any 114-game stretch.
Konerko isn't going to hit .400. But he is leading the majors at .399, and he is hitting .639 over his past 10 games (with five home runs and 14 RBI).
As hot as Konerko has been, one White Sox person I talked to Sunday said the reason they're better is that the other guys in the lineup have been better -- guys like Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza and Gordon Beckham, and Adam Dunn and Alex Rios.
If the White Sox knew they could count on guys like that, there would have been no need for rebuilding talk.
They could have left that for the team on the other side of town.
The Cubs, as their current 12-game losing streak shows, absolutely need to rebuild. And they absolutely aren't a lot better than some people think.
The White Sox are better, and with a three-game series at Tampa Bay starting Monday, we may soon find out how much better.
On to 3 to Watch:
1. The White Sox have scored nine runs or more in four straight games, the first time they've done that since 1938. They'll go for five in a row in White Sox at Rays, Monday afternoon (3:15 ET) at Tropicana Field. Good luck. The Rays have allowed nine runs in just one of their last 63 home games, dating back to last July. Matt Moore, who starts for Tampa Bay, hasn't yet proved to be as good as some people thought. Every other Rays starter has an ERA under 4.00. Through nine starts, Moore's ERA is 5.07.
2. By sweeping the Indians, the White Sox moved to within half a game of first place. But they also helped the Tigers move back to within three games of first place. The big question remains: Did the Tigers right themselves with their three straight wins in Minnesota, or did they just prove again how bad the Twins are? We may get a better idea this week, when the Tigers have back-to-back series against the Red Sox and Yankees. That includes Justin Verlander's start in Tigers at Red Sox, Tuesday night (7:10 ET) at Fenway Park. Verlander hasn't allowed a run in his last 16 2/3 innings against the Red Sox, and the Sox are just 6-for-56 (.107) against him in that span.
3. If it's an interesting week for the Tigers, it's an equally interesting week for the Yankees, who visit Anaheim before coming to Detroit. And for the Angels, who host the Rangers after they host the Yankees. The Angels have won six in a row. The Yankees have won five in a row. The Angels have been helped by the late arrival of Albert Pujols, who looks nothing like the guy who was wearing his uniform in April. The Yankees have been helped by the arrival of Andy Pettitte, who tries to make it three straight wins in Yankees at Angels, Tuesday night (10:05 ET) at Angel Stadium. Pre-retirement, Pettitte beat the Angels twice in 2010, allowing just one run in 14 innings. He'll face Dan Haren, who is coming off a four-hit shutout in Seattle -- and also threw a four-hit shutout the last time he saw the Yankees, last September in Anaheim.
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