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Around The American League: Chicago White Sox: Team Vying To Be Stabilizing Force In Division That Is Up For Grabs

White Sox Search For Consistency In Back-And-Fourth AL Central Division

In a fiercely competitive division that has seen three different winners in the past four seasons, its competitors' number one goal is to achieve steadfast adherence. This can be a difficult task when three of the five teams have the same goal in mind. We'd like to think four, but let's be realistic here.

It's even harder to pick favorites at this point because there are as many variables in a rigorous 162 game schedule as there are on a calculus professor's chalk board. But there are several reasons to believe that the Chicago White Sox have the gizmos and gadgets that a successful team should be equipped with.

Ok, they might not be the New York Yankees, or the Boston Red Sox. And they certainly don't come close to the Philadelphia Phillies, but if they can catch a few breaks, the Sox have something to play with. Their most recent division crown came in 2008, and another one might come in 2011 (the Indians will get one...soon enough).

The White Sox offense has the luxury of playing in a launch pad formally known as U.S. Cellular Field. Come late June or early July, the ball will rise out of the park like the sweltering temperatures itself. And they have the near perfect type hitters for those conditions. Free agent signee Adam Dunn has lifted 32 home runs or better in each of the past seven seasons. He finally escaped the clutches of pitcher friendly Nationals Park, where the hitter's woes add up quickly. He is great protection for long tenured slugger Paul Konerko, and others such as Carlos Quentin, Alex Rios, and having swinging shortstop Alexei Ramirez. Long balls, as usual, will come by the bushel in the south side of the windy city.

Starting pitching has become a diminishing issue for this team over the past few years. Highly touted draftee John Danks has fully blossomed into ace quality status. Gavin Floyd walks a lot of batters at a time, but can be streaky in a surprisingly effective way. Edwin Jackon ‘s no hitter is an implementation of his talents, and most hard core baseball fans have seen what Jake Peavy can do. The days of Chicago needing him, or crafty lefty Mark Buehrle to be the number one starter are in the books. The only way that pitching brings hard times to the White Sox is in the bullpen. They could not finish what they started, but young hurlers Matt Thorton and or Sergio Santos should get it figured out.

The talent level on the Chicago White Sox is diverse. They don't rely on any one player for run production, or good pitching; they do not have to. Other organizations, ahem, Twins and Tigers, may have already, and continue to puts most of their eggs in the same basket. Superstars are fine and dandy, but it's a team that wins championships, and the White Sox balance is arguably the best within their division.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.