CHICAGO -- After four straight wins, all over Central Division foes (including two in a row against the favored Detroit Tigers), go ahead and be cautiously optimistic about the Chicago White Sox's start to the season. But don’t hold your breath for any extra reassurance coming out of the team’s clubhouse.
Leave it to veteran Paul Konerko to bring perspective to the Sox’s early success.
“The start is two months of the season, so that's a long way away,” Konerko said. “But I think we're doing it right, we're going about it right. We're taking it inning by inning. We're not really thinking too many big things out there. The thoughts are small, and I think that's a good thing. We're just trying to get through. It's the way it should be. We're not putting any added pressure on anything, but at the same time everybody's got a job to do and have taken upon themselves to do it right. I think most teams this time of year are doing it right, and certainly we are. But as we get into the season here, it starts to get into that grind, that starts to be the test and we got to make sure we're up for that.”
With Saturday’s 5-1 victory the Sox have won two of three series to begin the season and are a win away from matching last season’s longest win streak. The Sox went 5-13 against Detroit last season, the most losses to the Tigers since division play began in 1969.
“It’s nice to start off that way,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It is April, though. But it’s better than losing those games and trying to say it’s still a long season and we hope that doesn’t carry. But for right now, I like the feel of the team and the way they come every day prepared to play and that’s the most important thing for me. It’s nice to be 4-0 in your own division, but it’s more important for me how we are approaching it day in and day out.”
Ventura said before the game that he’s liked each player’s approach so far, which is why he said it’s too early to raise any cause for concern regarding individual performances. Two Sox players who struggled mightily last season, Adam Dunn and Gordon Beckham, have already totaled 21 strikeouts through seven games. Beckham struck out once on Saturday and Dunn fanned twice, although he also crushed an RBI double to right-center field in the sixth. Dunn has continued to hit in the No. 3 spot and, except for one game, Beckham has hit ninth, so not until that changes will Ventura have much more to say about them.
And for what it’s worth, Sox players seem to appreciate Ventura’s approach.
“We all know him, he's a little more laid back than most but he's jumped on us a few times when we need to be jumped,” catcher Tyler Flowers said. “You don't feel much pressure with him. You go up there and you succeed, pat on the back. You don't succeed, still a pat on the back. You can tell he still trusts in you no matter what happens.”