White Sox Sweep Yankees (Yes, Really)
August 22, 2012
South Side Sweep
Last weekend in Kansas City the Chicago White Sox were error-prone, timid, unlucky, and uncomfortable to watch. It was sort of like witnessing Henry Kissinger do karaoke for a Jay-Z song. But not as funny.
The Sox were swept away by the Royals on the road, making Bruce Chen look like Bruce Willis and causing the Royals as a whole to have as much fun as Prince Harry in a game of pool. So, how did the Sox respond to such ignominy? By coming home and sweeping the New York Yankees in Chicago for the first time since 1991, that’s how.
The first person to fully understand the game of baseball gets a Yogi Berra PEZ dispenser and two cheek kisses.
The White Sox are hardly the first baseball team to kiss the baby against a bad team then rock the rooster against a good team but such inconsistency-resiliency-curiosity is very much reflective of this 2012 South Side squad, one that was supposed to be awful yet often looks great while remaining firmly slightly above average yet well off the William Harridge Trophy radar screen.
Until, perhaps, now.
The White Sox are now 68-55 which is good enough for a two-game lead on the Detroit Tigers, a team that didn’t start trying until July and still seems shocked that the AL Central crown hasn’t been dropped off at their door by Kenny Williams in a 1984 Dodge Daytona.
The Sox have a Cy Young candidate in Chris Sale who shamed the Yankees with 13 strikeouts on Wednesday to improve his record to 15-4. The Sox have two All-Stars in Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn, two should-have-been All-Stars in A.J. Pierzynski and Alex Rios, the latter of whom drove in the winning run with his 20th home run on Wednesday. The South Siders also have a plucky third baseman who used to live in Boston named Kevin Youkilis whom, if MVP trophies were given out based on leadership, guile, clutch hits and couldn’t go to guys named Mike Trout, would surely be urged to dust off the mantle.
The Sox are old. They have 12 fellas on their roster over the age of 30 including Messrs. Konerko, Rios, Dunn, Youkilis and Pierzynski.
The Sox are young. They have seven regulars who are 26 or younger including Sale and Yankee castoff Jose Quintana (5-2, 2.76 ERA) who beat the New Yorkers Tuesday night.
Maybe that’s why the White Sox beat the Yankees. They know them so well. Outfielder Dewayne Wise helped jack the Yankees with seven hits and two RBI during this three-game sweep, getting revenge on the team that cut him last month. The Sox also defeated former White Sox starter Freddy Garcia in this series who plays for the Yanks along with once upon a time South Siders Nick Swisher, Jayson Nix and Andruw Jones. No, none of those guys is named Jeter or A-Rod (who is still on the D-L along with Mariano Rivera, CC Sabathia, Andy Pettite and Brett Gardner) but it might say something that the Yankees have made a habit of scooping up former Sox.
Yankees fans would say it means that if their team had all their regular guys they wouldn’t need any Chicago castoffs and the Bronx Bombers would have been the ones sweeping this series.
Maybe. A very strong maybe.
But maybe the White Sox are some guys who aren’t afraid of big games against top teams and really don’t care who they’re playing.
And maybe if the White Sox can figure out a way to beat the Royals then Chicago and New York just might meet again in October. The results could be different then, of course. But for at least three South Side nights in August the only thing worrying the White Sox were the empty seats. Yes, gulp, for a three-game series featuring two first-place teams on three straight perfect summer nights the Sox only drew about 26,000 fans per game.
White Sox fans continue to be a stingy, reluctant bunch but hopefully they reach into their pockets soon because the Sox are becoming exactly the team that every fan wants: lunch pail effort with caviar results.
And a New York nemesis.