Important stuff from Monday's 3-1 victory over the Royals

That Chris Sale guy sure is good. A statistically dominant 8:1 K/BB outing over seven one-run innings that is instantly dismissed from any discussion of the best 20 starts of his still very brief career. Perhaps one of the tricks of managing Sale's workload is his resilience. He doesn't follow a linear path of decline over a start. He started leaving his changeup up in the fourth inning and got hammered for a bit and needed a relay line to save him from a crooked number inning, then corrected the problem and burned worms for the entire fifth. He had to reach back for extra life in his fastball to blow his way through a tight scoring situation and strike out the side in the sixth, then returned with nearly 100 pitches and cruised through a perfect seventh.

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The AL Central in 2015

I will almost certainly write several more articles on this topic before next season starts. But, with the All Star Game come and gone, the Amateur Draft Deadline in our rearview mirror, and teams having played between 95-100 games this season, it seems as good a time as any to take stock of the White Sox' competition for the near future.

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Important stuff from Saturday's 4-3 win over the Astros

Surely back-to-back nights of the bullpen clinging to one-run leads over multiple innings to prop up average or worse contributions from the offense will be prominently featured in the best-seller "How an Awful Bullpen Derailed the 2014 White Sox Juggernaut."

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Saturday White Sox update and such

So far in the second half, the White Sox are undefeated, Dayan Viciedo is a stud and the bullpen is perfect. There is a lot of confidence that this is how things will continue to play out. Starting the second half with a fun 3-2 comeback win over the Astros was nice, but the implications were more interesting.

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The first half is over; are the Sox reaching their goals? Part II

Way later than originally promised, we will look into the progress of the White Sox core. With Chris Sale and Jose Quintana being the only established, young, above-average contributors on long-term contracts, they were pretty much it for this category, and their main responsibility was not getting hurt or do something to indicate that long-term investment in them was a huge mistake.

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Ramirez shines in rare spotlight provided by All-Star Game

Apparently the greatest tragedy of the White Sox playoff drought has been depriving Alexei Ramirez of a bigger stage. As a reserve for Derek Jeter, I was wondering what opportunity he would have to flash his skills in just a few innings barring a grounder into the 5.5 hole, and that concern only doubled when Ramirez was tasked with facing Friend of Jordan Danks, Death to Right-Handers specialist Pat Neshek his first time up.

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First Half Farm System Successes

The All Star Break poses a convenient stopping point in the season to evaluate the state of the organization. The White Sox have been a respectable squad this year - certainly compared to last year - but it's pretty clear that the 2015 edition has a better chance at the playoffs than the 2014 one. In the interest of optimism, this post is a chance to look at some of the success stories from the first half in the minor leagues - including the guys who might help that hopeful 2015 playoff push.

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The first half is over; are the Sox reaching their goals? Part I

No longer is the populace--and media--scanning for a sign of life after the horrid reckoning that was 2013, they've moved on to viewing what this team is lacking to be a playoff contender in the here and now. With all that's happened so far, that could be the new mindset going for 2015 for fans and management alike, but it still takes away from what we were aiming for coming in.

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White Sox suffer through a Bauer outage, blow late lead

As an internet baseball writer and computer owner, there's a certain pain in focusing on a lack of hustle as the difference in the result of an entire game. But such was the nature of the White Sox attack against Trevor Bauer, that Conor Gillaspie lazily jogging back to first base after a second inning flyout and getting doubled off could account for a 3-2 defeat in the first half finale in Cleveland.

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Roster Moves, Injuries, and Abreu - Saturday Recap & Sunday Preview

Jose Abreu hit his 29th home run on Saturday, a 2-run shot that would give the White Sox a lead they would not surrender on their way to victory. Abreu's blast was a laser to opposite field in the fourth inning off a Zach McAllister who had yet to give up a hit to that point. Despite a stint on the 15-day DL with an ankle injury, despite being a rookie, and despite playing through ankle injury for a while before succumbing the DL, Jose Abreu leads the majors in home runs coming into today.

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A.J. Pierzynski and the Boston Narrative Sox

One of the earliest things you learn as a baseball fan growing up in Chicago is the power of narrative. Not so much for the White Sox, who seemed to appropriately blame bad seasons on either bad players or the team playing poorly. No, this was more of a Cubs thing. They were destined to fail because their storied past said so, never mind poor roster development or overpaying for underperforming.

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We Should See Some Runs - Lineups & Preview 7/12

Scott Carroll and Zach McAllister enter today with a combined ERA of 10.41. Therefore, if my calculations are correct, this should be a day for offenses. At least given that the wheels fell off of Noesi fairly early last night, and that they didn't have to pitch the 9th, the better relievers such as they are had the night off last night. If Scott Carroll can survive Ventura can deploy Putnam and Petricka to try to preserve a lead should one exist. 

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Noesi takes the bullpen off the hook, blows lead by himself

The secret worst thing about crummy pitchers isn't that they get lit up, it's that they get lit up and then leave work lying around for others. Allowing seven runs in two innings loses a single game, but it also leaves seven innings to pitch. Hector Noesi has been a statistically bad pitcher, but he's been a present one; sopping up goo-gobs of innings in mediocre fashion and saving a weary bullpen.

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Is Jose Abreu getting better?

Jose Abreu struck out twice Thursday. True to his form, he had one come on a slider low and away and well out of the zone, a bouncer that he looked positively foolish waving at, the type of pitch someone overmatched or completely unable to pick up the ball is caught swinging at.

It was also his first multi-strikeout game in 19 games, his longest streak of the season. In that stretch, his strikeout rate has dropped from 26.5% to 23.7% and his batting average is up from .268 to .287.

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Strong Quintana start spoiled, comeback spoiled, afternoon spoiled

Perfect baseball moments seem to make a point of creeping in out of nowhere, to the point where perfect setups should be looked at suspiciously. 

Jose Quintana cruising with a perfect game through five innings against a sleepy Boston offense, in the afternoon hour so that the baseball world could gaze upon him and wonder how he missed All-Star attention? Too perfect.

Conor Gillaspie pinch-hitting hopelessly in the ninth inning against Koji Uehara with a runner on and down two in the ninth? Just random enough.

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Bullpen blows four-run eighth inning lead in loss to Red Sox

Well, many White Sox fans would probably describe the end of Wednesday night's game as "upsetting."

The White Sox were again betrayed by their bullpen, which when asked to get four outs with a 4-0 lead delivered by Chris Sale, delivered a 5-4 walk-off loss in Boston after getting just two. Worse yet, the heartbreak came at the hands of two relievers Robin Ventura was hoping he could start to trust.

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