On May 29, the Chicago White Sox find themselves somewhere that no one expected them to be — in contention. Through 55 games this season the Sox sit at 28-27, only one and a half games out of the second Wild Card spot in the American League. In what is considered a rebuilding season by the team brass, the Sox have found a way to remain relevant during the last week of May. While other teams in the midst of restructuring their organizations, the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs, have already thrown in the metaphorical towel, the White Sox still are competitive.
Whether this is by accident or general manager Rick Hahn predicted that this collection of talent could compete during the reshuffling of the organization is anyone’s guess. No one knew that under new hitting coach Todd Steverson the team’s offense would be able to pick up for the struggles of the pitching staff, which was considered the strength of the team. No one knows how long this success will last. One thing is for certain, though; even if this team is no better than a .500 ball club, they are sure fun to watch.
On Wednesday night the White Sox had once again another walk-off win thanks to another unlikely hero. Moises Sierra, a waiver pickup at the beginning of May from the Toronto Blue Jays, delivered a run scoring single that led to the Sox’ sweep of the Cleveland Indians. After newly minted closer Ronald Belisario blew the game once again, Sierra’s clutch base knock led to the team’s victory which put them back over .500.
This was not the first walk-off the Sox have had this year. The Sox have had game-winning homers by Jose Abreu, Alexei Ramirez and Adam Dunn throughout the early part of the season as well.
White Sox television play-by-play announcer Hawk Harrelson said it best: “These guys just won’t quit”. It is wise to disregard what Harrelson said because quite frankly he is the team’s No. 1 cheerleader, but he does have a point.
The 2014 White Sox have energy and enthusiasm that fans have not witnessed on the South Side since 2008. Whether it is Adam Eaton‘s mentality to run out every single ball he puts in play to the passion that players like Andre Rienzo display on the field, this team feels a little different.
Coming off of a horrendous 2013 season, Sox fans were thirsting for a team that they could get excited about. As they discovered that their organization would be partaking in a rebuilding project, they looked at the franchises that also were going through the same process and worried. How could a team infuse young talent into a lineup, preparing for growing pains that will lead to losses, and still be exciting to watch?
This year’s White Sox team has showcased that they might not be the best team in the league, but unlike last year they are not out of any game. In a year when fans expected the worst, they are experiencing close to the best.