BOSTON — The White Sox woke up Wednesday morning in Massachusetts three and a half games out of a playoff spot, which without context doesn’t seem like too bad of a scenario.
Of course, with context — a stretch of 26 losses in 36 games that saw the White Sox crash from first place to under .500 — it’s less promising. It’s not clear if winning the first two games of a four-game series against the wild card-leading Boston Red Sox is a sign of things turning around or a blip on the radar (a series win over the Detroit Tigers last week was followed by a sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Indians).
Ace left-hander Chris Sale summarized his team’s position well after turning in seven solid innings in Tuesday’s 3-1 win over the Red Sox.
“We’re not in a terrible position, we’re not in a great position,” Sale said. “We’re in the middle of the season where we’re a hot streak away from being in first place.”
Sale, the longest-tenured member of the White Sox, still hasn’t been to the postseason since debuting as a reliever only a few weeks after being drafted in 2010. He told Yahoo’s Jeff Passan he’s “done all the individual things I need to do,” with his focus fully trained on pushing the White Sox to playing meaningful baseball in October.
Despite being a game under .500, the White Sox are 12-3 when Sale starts. Most of that record is Sale’s doing, but it’s worth nothing this team has lost seven consecutive games started by Jose Quintana, who has a lower ERA. Still, if the White Sox pull out of this tailspin and reach the postseason for the first time since 2008, the ability to run Sale and Quintana out in a short series is an enticing thought.
We’re not halfway through the season and we’ve already seen how good (April) and how bad (mid-May onward) the White Sox can be. While from the outside this team may seem inscrutable, Sale said he and his teammates have a good idea of what they are — and that’s a team that believes it can still make a run at the postseason.
“The confidence has been here the whole time whether we’re playing (well) or not,” Sale said. “We’re confident with that going forward.”