White Sox morning roundup

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White Sox morning roundup

From yesterday:

Philip Humber gave up three runs in five innings as the White Sox and Astros played to a 5-5 draw to finish off the 2012 preseason. Today's an off day, and then tomorrow is Opening Day. Tomorrow is Opening Day. That bears repeating.

The rankings of the AL Central in the power poll Tony Andracki and I put together: No. 5 Detroit, No. 16 Cleveland, No. 17 White Sox, No. 22 Kansas City, No. 24 Minnesota. Tony had Detroit at No. 1, with Cleveland No. 19, the Sox at No. 20, Kansas City at No. 22 and Minnesota at No. 24.

I previewed the White Sox starting rotation, which is being underrated by a lot of people coming into the season. Then again, if Jake Peavy gets hurt, things could unravel pretty quickly.

Speaking of the rotation, Chris Sale's Florida Gulf Coast coach explained why he thinks big things are coming for his former pitcher.

Lastly from us, Tony and I rolled out our final All-Chicago baseball team, with this one being our preseason roster for 2012. I think we're going to regret not putting Adam Dunn in the starting lineup, but that can be rectified at the midseason mark.

Larry previewed the high and low Sox minor league affiliates, Jim has a spot-on analysis of Brent Morel in the No. 2 spot and James previews the AL Central.

Around the division: Ken Rosenthal has a moving, powerful piece on Jason Marquis' daughter, Cleveland finalized a 16.5 million extension with Asdrubal Cabrera, Detroit opens against Boston today, Royals Review looks at Lorenzo Cain and my first reaction to "Indians send Ryan Spilborghs to Triple-A, release Felix Pie" was "wait, the Indians have Ryan Spilborghs and Felix Pie?" and then my second reaction was "well, I guess not anymore."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Chris Sale returns to Chicago

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Chris Sale returns to Chicago

In this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, Mark Carman (WGN Radio), Chris Hine (Chicago Tribune) and Seth Gruen (Bleacher Report) join Mark Schanowski on the panel.

Chris Sale is back in town. Do the White Sox miss their old ace?

Meanwhile, Jake Arrieta’s agent defends his client’s velocity drop. Does he have a point?

Plus LeBron James talks about his legacy, Tiger Woods’ fall from grace continues and the panel remembers legendary sportswriter Frank Deford.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Is the White Sox run differential a sign of better things to come?

Is the White Sox run differential a sign of better things to come?

From a record standpoint, the White Sox are maybe slightly above where most expected them to be this season.

From a run differential standpoint, the White Sox are way above any expectation.

After Monday’s 5-4 win against the Red Sox, the White Sox improved to 24-26 on the season. Impressively, the Sox have a plus-28 run differential, which is good for third-best in the American League.

The two AL teams higher than the White Sox in the category are both first-place teams. Houston is 36-16 with a whopping plus-74 differential while the Yankees are 29-19 and come in at plus-57.

The White Sox have the best run differential in the AL Central. The division-leading Twins (26-21) actually have a negative run differential at minus-7. The Twins are one of two teams with a negative run differential and a winning record (Baltimore is 26-23 with a minus-6 differential).

There are 15 teams in Major League Baseball with positive run differentials and the White Sox are the only team in that group more than one game under .500.

So what does that mean? Well, for one it could be a positive sign that the White Sox are actually a better team than their record. More plainly, it means the White Sox are winning games by bigger margins than they are losing them.

Monday’s win improved the White Sox record in one-run games to 5-7. The Sox are also 2-4 in two-run games and 3-5 in three-run games. That's a 10-16 mark in games decided by three runs or less. Meanwhile, in games decided by four runs or more the White Sox are 14-10.

What’s even stranger about the lack of success in close games is that the White Sox have the fourth best ERA among relievers in MLB.

May isn’t quite over yet so things can still even out in one direction or another, but these are certainly some odd numbers.