Adam Dunn has been done talking about 2011 since, oh, February. The 32-year-old has no desire to dwell on the topic, and when unsuspecting media members broach it to him, his answers are short and terse.
It's not just a state of mind. Dunn has shown 2011 was a mere aberration, a season that's not worth dwelling upon, especially given his 25 home runs and spot on the American League All-Star roster.
But Dunn hasn't been alone in his eradication of 2011. Alex Rios has been right there with him on the turnaround front. And with those two players experiencing major turnarounds in 2012, the Sox are in first place, holding a 47-38 record at the All-Star break.
The White Sox were 42-43 through 85 games last season. They limped to a 79-83 finish, staying afloat but barely with their noses above water for most of the second half.
Dunn and Rios combined to be worth -3.6 WAR last season. So far 2012, the pair 4.3 WAR, a swing of nearly eight wins over replacement. That's huge.
The White Sox didn't need All-Star seasons from Dunn and Rios -- make no mistake about it, Rios deserved to be an All-Star, just like A.J. Pierzynski (although the stacked outfield landscape of the AL was going to keep Rios off the roster no matter what). As long as neither player falls into their 2011 habits in the second half, that massive WAR turnaround may be enough to push the Sox into the postseason.
Given how well both players have played in the first half, there's not much of a reason to believe either will fall apart in the next three months.
White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito isn't having a great season, but at least it looks like his Twitter account could pass a background check.
A Twitter user dug through some of Giolito's tweets from his teenage years. He didn't find much in the way of hateful, mean or angry tweets. Instead, he found candy, touch tanks at the aquarium and animated movies.
The tweet got plenty of attention on the platform, leading Giolito to comment on it. Giolito took the joke with a good sense of humor and made a joke at his own expense.
This kind of makes you wonder what else would qualify as Giolito's "dark side." Maybe this will spawn a series of Lucas Giolito facts like the very tame version of Chuck Norris or The Most Interesting Man in the World.
Tonight, White Sox Triple-A affiliate Charlotte (44-52) will go head-to-head with the Pawtucket Red Sox (45-49) on NBC Sports Chicago at 6 p.m.
Top pitching prospect Michael Kopech (2-5, 4.88 ERA) faces William Cuevas (5-3, 3.21 ERA) at BB&T Ballpark. The flame-throwing Kopech is coming off an 11-strikeout performance in his last start when he completed six innings of work and allowed only four hits and one earned run.
Kopech has been inconsistent for the Knights this season, but leads the International League with a whopping 122 strikeouts. He had a forgettable month of June, when he went 1-4 with a 5.46 ERA, but he looks to be getting on the right track recently.
Charlotte’s batting lineup is highlighted by White Sox No. 1 prospect Eloy Jimenez, who has performed well since his promotion from Double-A Birmingham in mid-June. The powerful hitter has a .283/.348/.483 slash line with three home runs in 60 at-bats with the Knights.
Reliever Ian Hamilton (2.71 ERA), who is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 18 White Sox prospect, has served as the team’s closer since his June promotion to Triple-A. The 23-year-old has converted four of five save opportunities with Charlotte, making him a player to monitor during tonight’s game. He has 10 strikeouts with only two walks in 9 2/3 innings.