Sox Drawer: From 'worst' to first


Sox Drawer: From 'worst' to first

Its the end of May. The White Sox have won seven in a row and 11-of-12. Paul Konerko is having an MVP season. Jake Peavy and Chris Sale are early candidates for the Cy Young Award. They have one of the best young hitters in the game in Dayan Viciedo, not to mention one of the best young closers in Addison Reed.

Now fifty games into the season, theres one team all alone in first place in the American League Central not called the Detroit Tigers. Or the Cleveland Indians.

Its the team no one believed in.

During spring training, Gordon Beckham walked around the clubhouse comparing the White Sox to the viral video about the Honey Badger. Dont care. He dont care. We dont care, Beckham would say about their critics.

Who were they?


Not only were the White Sox not expected to win the division this season, nobody thought theyd even sniff first place for even a second of it.

The Tigers were expected to run away with the AL Central from day one.

The White Sox? They were supposed to lose 95 games. Right,

So much good is happening right now, the stats are coming in at a dizzying pace:

In the last 15 games, the White Sox are No. 1 in the majors in batting average, home runs, runs scored, runs per game, slugging percentage and batting average with runners in scoring position.

Theyve won seven of their last eight games on the road.

Theyve homered in 15 straight games, their longest streak since 2004.

Viciedo has more RBIs in May (23) than Joe Mauer, Dustin Pedroia, Robinson Cano and Michael Young have for the whole season.

Adam Dunn has hit more home runs this month (11) than he did all of last season.


Philip Humber has a perfect game.

Chris Sale had 15 strikeouts on Monday, one shy of the franchise record.

Paul Konerko is batting .386.

Justin Verlander lost to the Red Sox on Tuesday. The Tigers are 23-26. At the same point last year, the All-in White Sox were 22-27. Sound familiar?

And leading this group of men is someone who until this year had never managed a game in his life. The hiring of Robin Ventura was considered by most as a sign that the White Sox had either given up or lost their minds.

What they failed to recognize was Venturas mind. His knowledge of the game, plus his leadership, communication skills and laid-back personality were a perfect for this club. Considering the soap opera that occurred last season with the White Sox, he was the right manager at the right time.

Could 2012 be the White Sox time? Its way too early for that.

However, as June arrives, this team is proving its for real and doesnt plan on going away anytime soon.

The critics, the skeptics, the non-believers? The White Sox didnt care about them then, and they dont care now.

All that matters is winning. That theyre doing.

Its been fun to watch.

White Sox Talk Podcast: How Sox fans are dealing with Cubs success


White Sox Talk Podcast: How Sox fans are dealing with Cubs success

In our next installment of the White Sox Talk Podcast, Chuck Garfien is joined by Chris Kamka and Slavko Bekovic to discuss how White Sox fans are dealing with success on the North Side.

Later, White Sox fan and CSN producer Ryan McGuffey talks about his experience producing Cubs content. Finally, Cubs fan Nate Poppen shares his thoughts on Frank Kaminsky wearing a Steve Bartman jersey to the United Center before a Bulls-Hornets preseason game.

Check out the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast here:

White Sox coaching staff will rely more heavily on statistics

White Sox coaching staff will rely more heavily on statistics

Statistical analysis will weigh more heavily on the White Sox coaching staff’s daily decisions after Joe McEwing was elevated to Rick Renteria’s bench coach on Friday.

McEwing -- whose influence led to a 957 percent increase in defensive shifts utilized from 2013-16 -- replaces Renteria, who was named the team’s new manager on Oct. 3 after Robin Ventura announced he wouldn’t return.

Former player development director Nick Capra replaces McEwing as third-base coach while Curt Hasler was promoted from minor-league pitching coordinator to replace bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen.

McEwing’s promotion is another sign the franchise will stress the use of statistical analysis when constructing its lineup, etc., a move Ventura suggested was in progress when he said the White Sox needed a new voice. Renteria likes how he worked with McEwing last season and suggested analysis would have a big impact on their day-to-day operations.

“All the information that is provided to us plays an important part in how we move forward,” Renteria said. “We look at outcomes, which are the statistical analysis aspects. But then we are also trying to stay ahead of the curve. We do a lot of video work, trying to see if guys are changing their approaches. In terms of the shifts, we did incorporate shifts, but we also did some modifications as was to be expected when you see guys changing approaches with two strikes and things of that nature or runners in scoring position -- all those different aspects that come into play.”

Similar to many organizations, the White Sox have drastically modified how they align themselves defensively over the past four seasons under McEwing and general manager Rick Hahn. According to FanGraphs, the White Sox went from being ranked 27th in shifts implemented in 2013 to ninth by 2014 with an increase from 102 to 588. The White Sox shifted 1,079 times last season and McEwing has been instrumental in that transformation, several team sources said. It’s reasonable to expect analysis will be used more often in lineup construction and game strategy under Renteria, too. He didn’t shy away from the use of statistical analysis when he managed on the other side of town in 2014, Cubs third-base coach Gary Jones said last week.

“It’s part of our daily preparation,” Jones said. “Rick is good with it as we are right now. It was definitely a part of the equation, no doubt.”

[RELATED: White Sox announce coaching staff changes] 

Renteria cited familiarity when asked why he didn’t go outside of the organization for coaching staff hires. McEwing has long been held in high regard within the franchise and interviewed for managerial openings in Houston and Texas in 2014. Renteria suggested McEwing’s work ethic -- and how he works -- had a big impact on his promotion.

“Having sat side by side (with McEwing) going over a lot of game reviews and studying the opposition and setting up defense, I got to know him quite well,” Renteria said. “He’s a hard worker. He’s in there early looking for anything that will give us an edge. His managing experience and coaching experience also allows him an opportunity to be able to serve me well.

“It’s a good fit. We both are kind of high energy. Joey might be a little higher energy than me and I didn’t think that was possible. He brings a lot to the table.”

The White Sox announced the rest of its staff -- first-base coach Daryl Boston, pitching coach Don Cooper, hitting coach Todd Steverson, assistant hitting coach Greg Sparks and bullpen catcher Mark Salas -- would return in 2017.