If Robinson Cano was serenaded with boos at Kauffman Stadium for a perceived slight of Royals’ designated hitter Billy Butler, then maybe Adam Dunn will hear cheers tonight.
Dunn, the White Sox DH, said he had no qualms about not appearing in the All-Star Game.
“My whole thing was to rest for the second half,” Dunn told the Chicago Tribune. “I wanted to make sure Billy got his at-bats for the (Kansas City) crowd. So we talked about it. I did what I wanted to do pretty much. ... It worked out perfect.” Dunn took a seat for Butler? That’s cool. But then again, who is going to cheer the White Sox? Particularly since they are atop the AL Central.
Chicago was expected to finish in the bottom half of the division this season, but they are 47-38 and have a three-game lead on the Indians and are 9.5 up on the Royals.
“Where we’re at now, yeah, we’re doing well,” first baseman Paul Konerko said. “I think the main thing is we have not gotten ahead of ourselves this year. We’ve take it one game at a time. That’ll get harder as we keep going. People are going to want to talk about the playoffs, they are going to want about future things. We’ve just got to block that out.”
Konerko and Dunn were All-Stars and third baseman Kevin Youkilis has been a, well, hit since trading out his red sox for white ones. In 13 games with Chicago, he is batting .347 with three homers and 14 RBIs.
But the Chicago Tribune noted that the White Sox had hit their stride even before the Youkilis trade.
Since May 23, the White Sox have scored 5.5 runs per game. That’s an 899-run pace over a 162-game season. In the last eight seasons, only the ’04 Red Sox, ’05 Red Sox, ’06 Yankees, ’07 Yankees, ’08 Rangers and ’09 Yankees have reached that level in scoring.
And the pitching has been pretty good, too. In fact, the three pitchers starting this weekend against the Royals are stout. Tonight’s starter is Jose Quintana, 4-1 with a 2.04 ERA. He has allowed two runs or less in seven of his eight starts. Jake Peavy is 7-5 with a 2.85 ERA. He has a 2.41 ERA in his last five starts.
However, Peavy’s career numbers at Kauffman Stadium are downright ugly. He is 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in five starts in KC with a 1.500 WHIP.
On Sunday, left-hander Chris Sale will take the hill. He is 10-2 with a 2.19 ERA. Not bad for a guy who had been a reliever before this season.
“He’s got a great arm. A very special arm, I think everyone knows that,” Konerko said. “But that’s not enough. There are a lot of guys with special arms. What’s great about him is he’s obviously a tough kid, he wants to compete and is not scared of anybody. ...
“He does something very hard, he’ll buckled right-handers with sliders, which is hard to even picture how that happens. You’ll see guys right-handed, the ball comes out of his hand high and away and they actually freeze and it comes down. You don’t see many guys in the game do that.”
| Pete Grathoff, email@example.com