, First-Place Chicago White Sox Undeterred By Recent Rough Spell, The Nzuchi News Forbes

First-Place Chicago White Sox Undeterred By Recent Rough Spell

, First-Place Chicago White Sox Undeterred By Recent Rough Spell, The Nzuchi News Forbes

The losing streak lasted just five games.

However, to the Chicago White Sox, it felt like five weeks since they had won a game. Thus, they could fully exhale Wednesday afternoon after edging the Pirates 4-3 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

Despite some major injuries, the White Sox had been rolling along all season until arriving in Houston last Thursday.

The Astros swept the four-game series, outscoring the White Sox 27-8. Then Chicago dropped a 6-3 decision to the Pirates on Tuesday night.

“I did an Ozzie Smith somersault when we got that last out,” manager Tony La Russa said with a smile following Wednesday’s win. “You take it too serious, because this is what you do for a living, but you know, it’s been kind of miserable. Five straight days, so we’d have taken a win anytime in there to ease the misery. If you had to pick one of the five to win, you’d pick this one.”

The White Sox have done a lot of winning this season. Their record is 44-30, good for first place in the American League Central by 2 ½ games over the Cleveland Indians.

That is not totally unexpected as the White Sox entered the season as the division favorite in the eyes of many around baseball with a group of talented young players. Yet the losing streak did allow some negative thoughts to creep into the White Sox’s psyche.

“It’s kind of like a test right now,” ace pitcher Lucas Giolito said after Tuesday’s loss. “Rough series (in Houston) and we drop this first game. Maybe a little wakeup call we need. We have to come ready to play from the beginning of the game. We have to try to learn from these last few days. Come out maybe a little more aggressive, hair on fire.”

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Overall, though, everything is pointing in the right direction for the White Sox as their record is the third-best in the major leagues behind the San Francisco Giants (48-26) and Astros (46-28).

, First-Place Chicago White Sox Undeterred By Recent Rough Spell, The Nzuchi News Forbes

Even though there have been a few hiccups on and off the field in his first season back with the White Sox since 1986, La Russa has proven he is still an effective manager despite being 76 years old and away from the dugout for 10 years. He is a Hall of Famer and has the second-most wins of any manager in big league history for a reason.

The White Sox reached the postseason last year for the first time since 2008, which was also the last season in which they won a division championship. While the White Sox might have been expected to be at the top of the AL Central standings when the season began, their ability to stay there has been impressive with the injuries.

Left fielder Eloy Jimenez sustained a ruptured left pectoral muscle in spring training and has yet to play this season. Though he was cleared to begin baseball activities last weekend, there is no timetable for his return.

The 24-year-old won an AL Silver Slugger last year when he hit .296 with 14 home runs in 55 games during the pandemic-shortened season.

Center fielder Luis Robert tore his right hip flexor May 2 and is likely out until at least August. The 23-year-old was runner-up for AL Rookie of the Year in 2020 with a .233 batting average, 11 homers and nine stolen bases in 25 games while also winning a Gold Glove.

Second baseman Nick Madrigal underwent season-ending surgery on a torn right hamstring last week. The 24-year-old has hit .317 with a .358 on-base percentage in 84 games since making his major league debut last season.

Yet the White Sox remain in first place and, the recent losing streak notwithstanding, have plans of slowing down.

“I mean, everybody’s taking hits around baseball this season,” La Russa said of the injuries. “We have deep depth. You can’t dwell on the injuries. Instead of worrying about who you don’t have, you deal with what you do have. I like our lineup a lot. So, just go out and play. That’s what we do.”

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