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White Sox moving in right direction now

5/14/2011

The White Sox have forged a nice West Coast road trip so far, but what has in meant in terms of the standings?

After losing the road trip opener at Seattle on May 6, the White Sox have won five of their last six games. At the same time, they have gained two games in the standings on the Cleveland Indians.

Last Saturday, the White Sox had the worst record in baseball at 11-22, 11 games behind the the Cleveland Indians (21-10), who not only had the best record in the American League, but were also tied with the Phillies for the best record in baseball.

Heading into play this Saturday, the White Sox were nine games back, and it could have been eight without the Indians’ late rally to win Friday night’s game against the Mariners.

The White Sox have also turned over the dubious distinction of worst record in baseball to the Minnesota Twins, a sort of victory in itself to help push a rival into the dumps. The White Sox are just one game better than the Twins in the loss column, though.

Asking the White Sox to make up two games a week is a bit much, but if they can gain a relatively modest one game a week in the standings, they would be pushing their way to the top of the AL Central around the first week of the second half. So even that kind of pace isn’t completely necessary.

The White Sox do have 15 games remaining with the Indians to do some damage, including two at U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday and Thursday.

The above scenario, though, is only for those with optimism. The realist will point out that the past week, and opening weekend of the season, don’t quite make up for the other five weeks of struggles.

But the White Sox have finally started to see things bounce their way for once. Take the game last weekend in Seattle where not only did Ichiro Suzuki get hit with a batted ball for an out, but the umpire got in the way of a sure extra-base hit by the Mariners, turning it into a single.

In the next series at Anaheim, the White Sox not only rallied to win the finale Wednesday, but Paul Konerko made two standout plays for the final two outs of the victory.

Then there was Friday, when Oakland’s Coco Crisp snuffed out a potential game-tying rally in the eighth inning when he was tagged out on a straight steal of home.

Manager Ozzie Guillen joked afterward that two weeks ago, the White Sox make a bad pitch or miss the tag and Crisp scores. In reality, it’s more like Crisp would have stood his ground and Thornton would have given up the game-tying and go-ahead RBIs.

Thornton is just one of many White Sox players fighting their way back from an awful start. It was always said that if each White Sox player delivered to his past standards, they had the talent to win the division. There is a long way to go, but finally many of those struggling players are heading back in the right direction.