CHICAGO -- The quiet confidence that was so much a part of Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura during his 15-year career as a player has become the mantra of his working class group of players this season.
The White Sox’s mix of veterans and first-year players on Thursday handed the powerful Texas Rangers their third straight loss and their first series sweep since June of 2011 with a 2-1 victory. It appears from the lack of egos the players display publicly that Ventura tells them on a daily basis to keep it inside the clubhouse and not let anyone know the Sox are a real contender.
“We said it from the day we left spring training that we can play with anyone,” said pitcher Jake Peavy, who lost the online vote for the final spot on the American League All-Star team to Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish. “We have had some ups and downs. We all know that is the way it works. Heck, Texas just got swept and they are the best team in baseball probably. We believe we have enough here to get it done, and we believe we can get in the playoffs and win eleven games.”
Team captain Paul Konerko has a different approach to the long season which has the Sox in first place in the AL Central after 82 games.
”It is all about coming in and giving an honest day’s work,” Konerko said. “It’s nice when you get the results to kind of validate what you are doing which we have had here in the first half. There is a long way to go and sometimes you always don’t get what you want, but that’s the tone that has been set around here.”
Ventura has spread his low-key, high-intensity methods throughout the clubhouse, a style that has made an impact with the 10 rookies who have made their way onto the White Sox roster this season.
“Nobody knows when you leave spring training. You get a better idea as the season starts and you see the guys play,” Ventura said. “I do think there is a good group in there that now has added a very good player (Kevin Youkilis) that has intensified the feeling inside of who they can play with and how they (play).”
Staying in character, Ventura tried to downplay the sweep of the Rangers.
“They feel good and realize when you win three games against a very good team what it means,” Ventura said. “We have a game (Friday against the Blue Jays) and a game after that. It is good to feel it for awhile but again there are guys in there right now that are already thinking about Toronto.”
The White Sox are eight games over .500 for the third time this season and have won seven of their past nine games.