(670 The Score) Sitting at 21-13 and carrying a .618 winning percentage, the White Sox entered play Thursday with MLB’s best record.
The White Sox are on a five-game winning streak and have the underlying numbers to back up their strong start. They lead MLB in run differential by a wide margin, as their +64 figure easily outpaces the second-best mark of +44 from the Astros.
Driving the White Sox’s success – beyond their talent – is their “head, heart and guts,” to steal a mantra that manager Tony La Russa likes to use. As you might expect, La Russa wants to keep his team focused on the present and not get caught up in worrying where the White Sox rank among the game’s elite.
“The only statement we make is that we don't play the bottom of the ninth inning today,” La Russa said before the White Sox hosted the Twins in a series finale Thursday afternoon. "That is the statement. So if we don't play the bottom of the ninth, we know we had a good day. If we do play the bottom of the ninth, potentially it's not a good day. As for statements, we wait six months. We talked enough about the daily work and enthusiasm they bring to the game.
“We are only in the middle of the second month of the season. We like the fact that we are winning more than we are losing. There is so much more ahead that you don't want to lose an edge.”
Despite star outfielders Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez being out with serious injuries, the White Sox are dominating behind their deep offense and strong starting rotation. The White Sox are averaging an MLB-best 5.5 runs per game, and their starters have a 2.95 ERA, the third-best mark in baseball.
“There is a lot of talent our front office – Kenny (Williams), Rick (Hahn) and Jeremy (Haber) – put together,” La Russa said. “We have a real good mix of players with abilities. You put them all together, and you feel you can play any type of game with any conditions. This is just a testament to the roster and pitching they put together.”
While he has been pleased with his White Sox’s start, La Russa wants no part yet in predicting what will come or whether the club will achieve greatness.
“Look, if this was the first of September, I might have more to say,” La Russa said. “I said this in spring training when I saw the talent on the roster – I knew it was real. Now it's about great preparation and great practice. The baseball gods are listening, so we have to keep doing it. I think the heart and the spirit we have will keep bringing that talent out. I think you should ask that question again in September.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.