Another day, another win. This time, the Sox rallied for five runs against James Shields in the sixth and Dayan Viciedo added an eighth-inning home run to push the White Sox past Tampa Bay 7-2. And with Cleveland losing to Kansas City:
The White Sox are in first place. Chuck Garfien has a good rundown of how the Sox got here and how they aim to stay in contention for four more months.
Dayan Viciedo's been a big part of the recent hot streakturnaround, driving in 23 runs in May with eight home runs. After Tuesday's game, Frank Thomas broke down what Viciedo's been doing right:
And, of course, Paul Konerko's been extremely important, even if he's come back down to earth a bit in these last two games. On Tuesday afternoon, he was rewarded for his efforts with AL Player of the Week honors -- the second time he's won that award this year.
Yet with everything seemingly breaking in the White Sox favor, attendance remains an issue. We'll see what the numbers look like for the upcoming nine-game homestand against Seattle, Toronto and Houston, but there seems to be a pretty good movement among the fans to get other fans to head out to the park. Chicago Tribune Live had a good debate on the attendance issues:
Justin Verlander gave up five runs as Detroit fell to Boston 6-3. That has a few bits of significance: First, with a 23-26 record, the Tigers are only one game ahead of the White Sox pace through 49 games from last year; and second, it means Chris Sale now has the best ERA of any American League starter. His 15-strikeout Memorial Day performance ranks as the fifth-best start a White Sox pitcher has had against Tampa Bay, though.
Around the division: Grady Sizemore is frustrated as he tries to work his way back to Cleveland, Magglio Ordonez will announce his retirement and be honored Sunday in Detroit, the Tigers shipped Ryan Raburn off to Triple-A, Minnesota Josh Willingham dealt Oakland their seventh straight loss and Kevin Goldstein looks at the top 15 draft prospects.
27-year-old Justin Jirschele made quite an impression in his first season as manager of the White Sox Class-A affiliate in Kannapolis. He helped lead the Intimidators to the South Atlantic League championship, and was named White Sox Minor League Coach of the Year. Jirschele came on the podcast to speak with Chuck Garfien about how he went from playing minor league baseball with the White Sox to coaching in their system. He talks about how growing up with a dad who was coaching minor league baseball helped mold him as a manager who is wise beyond his years. Jirschele also gives a report on some of the top White Sox prospects he managed last season such as Jake Burger, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Miker Adolfo.
The White Sox farm system is baseball's best, according to one of the people making those rankings.
In the wake of Major League Baseball's punishment of the Atlanta Braves for breaking rules regarding the signing of international players — which included the removal of 12 illegally signed prospects from the Braves' organization — MLB.com's Jim Callis tweeted out his updated top 10, and the White Sox are back in first place.
Now obviously there are circumstances that weakened the Braves' system, allowing the White Sox to look stronger by comparison. But this is still an impressive thing considering that three of the White Sox highest-rated prospects from the past year are now full-time big leaguers.
Yoan Moncada used to be baseball's No. 1 prospect, and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez weren't too far behind. That trio helped bolster the highly ranked White Sox system. Without them, despite plenty of other highly touted prospects, common sense would say that the White Sox would slide down the rankings.
But the White Sox still being capable of having baseball's top-ranked system is a testament to the organizational depth Rick Hahn has built in such a short period of time.
While prospect rankings are sure to be refreshed throughout the offseason, here's how MLB Pipeline's rankings look right now in regards to the White Sox:
4. Eloy Jimenez
9. Michael Kopech
22. Luis Robert
39. Blake Rutherford
57. Dylan Cease
90. Alec Hansen