Quentin, pitching power surging White Sox

June, 24, 2010
6/24/10
4:59
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive

There are numerous theories as to why the Chicago White Sox are now contenders rather than just another bad team. The obvious sign for a team on a good streak is outstanding starting pitching, and the White Sox have had an abundance of that during this streak. Their starters are 12-1, notching 14 quality starts in the team’s last 15 games.

However, good starting pitching alone is never good enough for a quality team. The Cubs series seemed like a jumping off point for this resurging ballclub.

“Looking back right now, [that] kicked us into gear a little bit,” Paul Konerko said. “We were able to keep the intensity going toward Pittsburgh.

”Sometimes, there’s a letdown after that [Cubs] series, but we showed up in Pittsburgh that Tuesday night, had a good game and won. That was nice; we’ve been rolling since then.”

Breaking down the White Sox’s nine-game win streak and stretch of 13 wins in their last 14 games, you begin with their starting pitching as the reason for their recent dominance.

  • Starting pitching: During the stretch of the last 14 games, the starters have gone at least seven innings 10 times. The residual effect of that not only gives you a quality outing, it allows the bullpen to freshen up and stay strong.

  • The offense: White Sox hitting started to take off, batting .288 during their 12-1 run before Thursday’s win. More importantly, they were hitting .389 with runners in scoring position. A big part of that has been Carlos Quentin’s contribution. Quentin, who struggled in the first two months of the season, is now sharing the heavy lifting with Konerko and Alex Rios. An example is his recent numbers. He’s 11 for 26 (.423) in his last seven games, with three doubles, three home runs and 10 RBI before Thursday.

  • The defense: The White Sox have caught the ball on a more regular basis and have stayed away from the mental mistakes that cost them games early in the season. Good pitching and good defense go hand in hand, and that has been the case with the White Sox in their recent winning streak. Omar Vizquel’s great defense and surprisingly productive bat has been a calming influence on the surging White Sox team.
  • Bruce Levine | email

    Chicago baseball beat reporter
    Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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    TEAM LEADERS

    BA LEADER
    Jose Abreu
    BA HR RBI R
    .318 35 105 78
    OTHER LEADERS
    HRJ. Abreu 35
    RBIJ. Abreu 105
    RA. Ramirez 80
    OPSJ. Abreu .971
    WC. Sale 12
    ERAC. Sale 2.20
    SOC. Sale 198