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Padilla's first half report card

7/14/2010
Alex Rios' re-emergence is just one reason for the White Sox's surge to first place. William Purnell/Icon SMI

OFFENSE: B-

Only Paul Konerko and Alex Rios pulled their weight at the beginning of the season. As the first half came to a close and the White Sox were on their hottest run of the season, everybody was hitting home runs, including A.J. Pierzynski, who had a two-homer game, and Carlos Quentin, who had three multi-homer games over his final four contests of the first half.

DEFENSE: B-

Mark Teahen’s struggles weren’t just at the plate. The acquisition from the Royals had a tough first half at third base before a fractured middle finger put him on the disabled list, but once defensive wizard Omar Vizquel took over at the hot corner, things started to settle down. Teahen, who has a history of moving all around the field on defense, will get a chance to redeem himself in the second half.

STARTING ROTATION: B

What was once a mess over the first month and a half of the season became a strength for the White Sox. Gavin Floyd, Mark Buehrle and John Danks have proven themselves as dependable options. Veteran Freddy Garcia will be watched closely by manager Ozzie Guillen in the second half. Daniel Hudson could be the answer for Jake Peavy’s spot, but it won’t stop GM Ken Williams from weighing his options before the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31.

BULLPEN: A

At the start of the season the relievers were very good. At the midway point they continue to hold it together. J.J. Putz hasn’t given up a run in 22 consecutive outings (23 innings). Closer Bobby Jenks, who has 19 saves in 20 chances, has returned strong after an absence to handle personal issues. The White Sox’s 3.59 ERA at the break from their relievers is fifth best in the American League.

MANAGER: B-

During a vulnerable moment during spring training, Guillen agreed that he had winning talent. He then said that the White Sox will win if he doesn’t get in the way. It was a self-deprecating moment, but his job security came in question when the club got off to an uninspiring start. The manager seems to have the club on the same page now and feeding off each other.

GENERAL MANAGER: C

The outsider's view is that Williams has deferred to others this season. Guillen is in charge of the fate of his coaches. Guillen’s own fate appears to be in the hands of chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. The team was even compiled in the wants and desires of Guillen. Williams did bring in the players for a team that is in first place at the break. We could be wrong, but the team doesn’t look to be completely in his vision for 2010.

MVP: Paul Konerko

The lazy man’s analysis is that Konerko has stepped things up because his contract will expire after this season. That’s an insult to one of the true professionals of the game; as if he was dogging it until it meant something on a personal level. Konerko has always put up the numbers when he was feeling good. His 20 home runs, 63 RBIs and .299 batting average at the break sum up a true professional at the age of 34.