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Chicago White Sox need win streaks and not just series wins

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DETROIT, MI - JUNE 15: Yoan Moncada #10 of the Chicago White Sox celebrates with Danny Mendick #20 and Jake Burger #30 after hitting a three-run home run against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on June 15, 2022, in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JUNE 15: Yoan Moncada #10 of the Chicago White Sox celebrates with Danny Mendick #20 and Jake Burger #30 after hitting a three-run home run against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on June 15, 2022, in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /
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The return of Eloy Jimenez to the Chicago White Sox lineup in the series finale victory against the Minnesota Twins provided a jolt to the team that has been sorely lacking for some time.

Now the question is, can the White Sox build off of that to get themselves into a position to win the American League Central division?

Wednesday’s victory over the Twins kept the White Sox from slipping 7.5 games behind Minnesota, a deficit that could have been devastating for a team who has not looked like the one that posted 93 wins in 2021.

The win was their first against the Twins this year and just their second in 11 games against Minnesota and Cleveland, both of which are ahead of the Sox.

The series against the Twins marked the first three games of 19 in a row against divisional opponents. By the end of this stretch, the White Sox will have played the Twins seven times (a four-game series in Minnesota comes up July 14-17) and the Guardians eight (two separate four-game series in a 12-game span).

The Detroit Tigers will be the only other team the White Sox face during this 19-game period and that could be a good thing based on how they have handled the Tigers to this point.

Detroit is the only divisional opponent the White Sox has a winning record against (despite Thursday’s loss) thus making the need to take care of business against them so important.

The Chicago White Sox needs to start stringing together some log win streaks.

The problem for the White Sox is they can’t seem to put a long stretch of victories together as other contending teams can. Of the seven AL teams currently with .500 records or better, only Cleveland has put together a winning streak (five games) shorter than the White Sox who, along with Tampa Bay, won six in a row.

In the COVID-shortened season of 2020, the White Sox posted a seven-game win streak which happens to be their longest stretch over the last three years. Twice last season the White Sox had six-game win streaks and have had just one so far in 2022.

Winning a series against opponents is important but if the teams ahead of the White Sox in both the division and wild card races do the same, the club will get nowhere. Based on current standings, the White Sox will have to win the division if they want to participate in the postseason.

The difference between the White Sox and the teams they are chasing is those teams can string three to four wins together with some regularity while the Sox can’t. Aside from the six-game win streak, the White Sox have won four in a row once (April 9, 10, 12, and 13) and three straight on only three occasions.

What the White Sox cannot do is keep getting themselves into win two, drop one, win one, drop three type scenarios. They may not be able to repeat their 93-win performance from last year but they may have to come close to it to play in October.

This is all pretty obvious but the issue is how capable are they of doing that? They haven’t shown that they are better than a .500 team in a division that is there for the taking. Injuries, errors, lack of home run power, inability to drive in runs, and poor managerial decisions have proven costly up to now and can’t continue into the second half of the season.

Once again, the AL Central is proving to be a weak division and one that may have only its winner making the playoffs. Should that be the case, the White Sox need to start rattling off victories in consecutive fashion and not just win series.

While winning a series is important, the problem is that if Minnesota and Cleveland do the same, the White Sox will have difficulty making up ground. Getting on runs where the White Sox win four, five, or six in a row and not drop more than one or two at a given time can help get them back into the race.

All hands will need to be on deck and playing well for that to happen, especially those starters who were counted on to make major contributions.

Jimenez’s return from hamstring surgery was a welcome sight for the ballclub as they now wait to see how catcher Yasmani Grandal (hamstring) progresses from a rehab stint in the minors. Barring a setback, Grandal is expected back after the All-Star break.

The next few weeks will be vital to the White Sox. Should they play well, they could be right back in the thick of the playoff race. If they play poorly, they could end up being in a spot no one thought coming into the season which is sellers at the trade deadline.

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