I'll get to 10 points at some point today. In the mean time keep crazily refreshing the page in anticipation.
UPDATE: I finished!
1. What the hell got into John Danks? What got into the White Sox in general? How have the Astros been winning? Danks' shutout was very him; a combination of his best control, consistent contact but avoiding the huge, deflating bomb, and a definitively weird event that kept his tab empty. In another world, Jonathan Villar's triple-that-wasn't-quite-an-inside-the-park-home-run is a lineout to center that Adam Eaton reads correctly, but let he who has not allowed the speeding bullet over his outfielder's head cast the first stone. While this may not have been the breakthrough a shutout usually implies...
...it's sweet to see Danks' dogged resiliance and willingness to bang his head against the wall until something clicks actually get rewarded from time to time. The mean of the results for Danks trying to pinpoint mediocre stuff at below-average speed is going to continue to be pretty lackluster, but it's nice to see the man have his day.
2. Danks' horseshoe spectacular gave the Sox an unlikely cap to a stretch where Sale, Samardzija, Quintana, Rodon, and Danks, strung together quality starts for seemingly the first time all season. There was a Chris Beck spot start mixed in there, but otherwise it provided a convincing 4-1 mark while the offense suffered through absences of Avisail Garcia and Jose Abreu. It wasn't what we envisioned, but elite run prevention is a way the Sox can climb into a Wild Card conversation that's only three games over their heads.
3. It will have to be VERY elite run prevention.
4. Hari-kiri isn't quite necessary yet for Todd Steverson & Co., since Jose Abreu is expected back from his finger injury, which coincided with a power spike before it inflated his right index digit to a grotesque size. The Sox haven't showered themselves in glory this season with regards to returning crucial offensive contributors from nagging injuries at appropriate times, but with negative X-ray results, there's only so much handwringing to be done--and in Abreu's case, none at all--if the pain is not keeping him out.
5. Adam LaRoche will miss the month of May. He walked 22 times, got on base at a princely .420 rate (and it wasn't even April!) and had an OPS+ of 141. The power was just average, especially during a stretch where he seemed to be seeing the ball well and for a guy who has the strength to go opposite field like LaRoche did Sunday, but you take a guy who's getting on base like this and stick in the middle of your lineup without hesitation. Clogged bases are a bigger problem for pitchers than offenses.
6. The Sox have not done themselves any favors by kicking their mid-season turnaround farther down the road. Say what you will about the true talent level of the Astros and Twins (both of whom the Sox will play), but the team with the worst record the Sox will face for the entire month of June is the Baltimore Orioles; you know, the club that went to the ALCS last season. That comes along divisional showdowns with the Tigers, four games against the streaking Pirates, two series against the surprising and very hitterish Rangers, and a game against the unkillable St. Louis Cardinals. If last month was about licking wounds against the bums of the league, this month is about actually being better or getting your teeth kicked into your mouth and down your esophagus.
7. Gordon Beckham is:
--Worlds better than Conor Gillaspie defensively
--Hitting .837 OPS against righties with no batted-ball luck to speak of
--Crap against left-handers, making him redundant with Conor
I can only offer the facts, and the facts are not good for our pal Conor. That neither Micah Johnson or Carlos Sanchez can hit the ball farther than 200 feet is a bit of a complication. Their saving grace is that neither is remotely valuable on the trade market.
8. Melky Cabrera, Alexei Ramirez, Tyler Flowers and Carlos Sanchez give the White Sox four lineup regulars with a sub-.600 OPS. That's nearly half the lineup! Adam Eaton is also pretty bad but is at least breathing (.727 OPS in May) these days, Melky somehow got worse in May, Ramirez has just taken the first two months of the season off at the plate, and Flowers and Sanchez are bad enough that this could be long-term production from them. How long is long enough to where you need to switch someone who might be dead out of the No. 2 hole? Let's say two months is enough.
We've now campaigned for Gordon Beckham to be the full-time third baseman and the No. 2 hitter. It's been a day, man.
9. Carlos Rodon had a walkless start Friday night. The final product didn't quite look like the Rodon we envisioned. There are still problems of not commanding enough respect to get hitters to chase his otherworldly slider enough to make it the worldbeater it needs to be, nor is his ability to refine it as a strikegrabber fully realized, but this guy was walking people in Oakland just because he couldn't throw his fastball for a strike 50% of the time. This is an accomplishment! Against a Houston lineup that may or may not be capable?!
10. Putting the May splits on FanGraphs' pitching leaders was intended to give me a snapshot of how good Jeff Samardzija's second month on the White Sox went, but the actual leader in pitcher fWAR on the team was...Jose Quintana, who was good! (3.05 ERA, 39 K, 14 BB, 38.1 IP) but also profited from making six starts in the month. Samardzija (3.00 ERA, 32 K, 7 BB, 36 IP in just five starts) was very good, but was still behind Chris Sale (2.68 ERA, 46 K, 9 BB, 37 IP in just five starts). All three were in the top-25 in MLB in fWAR, and Quintana is over here looking like a bum when he's averaging over six innings per start.