WHITE SOX ARE ALL IN THIS SEASONBy Doug Padilla
White Sox blog
If it's a better season at the gate, maybe it's the Cubs. On the field, though, all you have to do is think with your head, not your heart, to determine the correct answer is the White Sox.
If Juan Pierre, Gordon Beckham and Adam Dunn at the top of the order don't convince you, how about Paul Konerko, Alex Rios and Carlos Quentin in the middle might. At the bottom rests the defensive standouts, A.J. Pierzynski, Alexei Ramirez and Brent Morel. And even without Jake Peavy for the first month, the pitching isn't bad, either.
Getting off to a hot start will be key, so the starting lineup has been playing together more than usual this spring. There are a lot of empty seats in Arizona, so it feels like American League Central play has already started (not counting Minnesota, of course).
Matt Thornton will anchor the bullpen as the new closer, but the role has more of a tryout feel than anything. Chris Sale or Sergio Santos could take the job if Thornton fails, with Jesse Crain in consideration, too. John Danks has the potential to take over as staff ace, although some people think he already has the job.
If every White Sox player delivers to his potential, the White Sox will still be at it in October. If not, chairman Jerry Reinsdorf will be left holding the tab on a fairly large dinner bill.
But at least he brought the right guys to the table. Or so it seems.
Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.
You've heard our takes; now give us yours. DISCUSS
ANYTHING'S POSSIBLE -- INCLUDING MIRACLE AT ADDISONBy Gene Wojciechowski
Just so there's no confusion, I'm picking the White Sox to win the American League Central. But because VCU has made all things possible with its Final Four run, I'm also picking the Cubs to win the National League Central. Shaka Quade?
The Sox should win their division. The Cubs can win their division. And if they do -- they've got the pitching to pull it off -- how can you not say the Cubs had a better season than the Sox?
I'm splitting Ozzie Guillen goatee hairs here, I know. But expectations count. And let's face it, not many seamheads are expecting much out of the Cubs.
Meanwhile, the Cubs are stuck behind the velvet rope as the bouncer keeps them out of Club Postseason.
Well, sorry, but I don't think the highlight of the Cubs' year is going to be the July 20 Chips and Dip Platter giveaway at Wrigley. I think if Carlos Zambrano's head doesn't explode in 2011 (a big if) and Carlos Pena returns to home run form and, well, you get it -- a few things have to break the Cubs' way.
Anyway, the baseball gods owe this franchise. If they get Ron Santo up there, the Cubs at least get a division banner down here.
None of this means the Sox won't have a wonderful season. They will. But better than the Miracle At Addison? Don't think so.
Gene Wojciechowski is a columnist for ESPNChicago.com.
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