By Paul LaTour
They arent the first-place White Sox yet, but they got a step closer Sunday after completing a sweep of American League Central-leading Cleveland.
Chicago extended its winning streak to five games and has won nine of its last 10 to pull within a half-game of the Indians just as Memorial Day approaches to signal the unofficial start to summer.
That might seem like it would be a big deal for a team that was five games back on May 7, right? Not so much.
To be honest, weve got well over 100 games left, so we dont think about it, Gordon Beckham said of the standings prior to tying a career high with four hits in the Soxs 12-6 victory. We dont really care. We just have to go out and play our game and not worry about that stuff. Were playing well, and thats what were focused on right now.
Though the three-game sweep of the Indians looks good, the Sox were well aware the team they just faced was seriously depleted. The heart of their order -- Carlos Santana, Asdrubal Cabrera and Travis Hafner -- all missed the series with injuries.
We caught them at the right time, apparently, but thats a good team over there, Adam Dunn said. Were playing pretty good right now, so Ill take our chances.
Expectations for a division title were placed on Detroit and Cleveland, but not many figured the Sox could challenge like they have in May. After Sunday, the Sox have as many wins as Cleveland, and are 2 12 games ahead of the third-place Tigers.
So would the Sox at least say its surprising they are in this position right now?
I dont know if Im surprised or not, manager Robin Ventura said. Again, were just focused on what were doing and the results come after that. But I think guys, you pay attention enough to where youre at and I dont think guys are surprised or disappointed. Its more of just playing.
And as Beckham advised, its too early to get too excited about any AL Central title talk, anyway.
Yeah, were in it. As of two months into the season, were in it, he said. Weve still got four more months.