White Sox-1st Place at the All-Star Break? Yessss!

As the Chicago White Sox team photographer, I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve when it comes to how I handle the club’s ups and downs throughout the season.  Right now, I’m riding an emotional high going into the All-Star break, which has given everyone (except the All-Stars themselves) a much needed three day break before the second half of the season begins on Thursday.

5 weeks ago, I wasn’t feeling quite so chipper, that’s for sure.  The White Sox trailed the first place Minnesota Twins by 9 1/2 games on June 8th, and the schedule didn’t look like it was going to get easier any time soon.  But that’s when things changed.  Oh my, did they change.  The past 5 weeks have allowed White Sox fans to experience some great baseball, and experience what it’s like to win.  Not just win, but win a lot. In bunches.  At an .833 pace over 30 games.  Serious winning.

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Jake Peavy, who unfortunately has been lost for the season due to injury, uses his good arm to high-five Andruw Jones after the July 9th victory over the Royals.

First with an 11 game winning streak, followed shortly thereafter by their current 8 game winning streak going into the break, the White Sox have made up ground in a hurry in the AL Central.  Like taking over first place in the division.  And I must say, it’s been fun getting there.

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White Sox fans got into the swing of things by supporting Paul Konerko, who was trying to make the All-Star team in MLB's Final Vote contest. As things would have it when things are going well, Paul didn't win the contest but ended up being added to the AL squad anyway, replacing injured Twins first baseman Justin Morneau.

There has been some great baseball being played on Chicago’s Southside during this streak.  Defense, offense, pitching, speed.  Everything you need to go 25-5 over the last 30 games.

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Gordon Beckham's play at second base just keeps getting better by the game.

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Juan Pierre leads the American League with 32 stolen bases at the All-Star break.

According to notes provided courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau:

The White Sox were 9.5 games behind AL Central leaders Minnesota and Detroit following a loss on June 8, but they have won eight consecutive games and 25 of their last 30 to end the half in first place … only one team in major-league history has been further behind at any point in the first half but entered the break with a division lead … the 1973 Cardinals were 11.5 back at one point and in first place at the All-Star Break.

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Andruw Jones connected for his 400th career home run off of Anthony Lerew of the Royals on July 11, one of four home runs hit by White Sox batters in the third inning that day.

• The White Sox went 25-5 to end the first half … that matches the best record for any team in MLB history in its final 30 games before the All-Star Break … the 1975 Cincinnati Reds and 1990 New York Mets both were 25-5 to end the first half.

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White Sox lefty John Danks carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning during his complete game, 1-0 shutout victory over the Angels July 8th.

• The White Sox current eight-game winning streak is the longest in franchise history to end the first half.

Carlos Quentin has hit a franchise-record six home runs in his last four games.  His three multiHR efforts in a four-game stretch also are a White Sox record.

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Carlos Quentin connects for one of his four home runs hit during the 3 game series versus the Royals.

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Quentin acknowledges the White Sox faithful after hitting a grand slam home run, his second home run of the game, versus the Royals on July 11, 2010.

I think I’m not alone in wishing that there wouldn’t be an All-Star break this season.  When things are going like they have of late, you don’t want to stop for anything.  Everyone at the ballpark has a little more bounce in their step.  Two consecutive games with long rain delay’s don’t seem to be a bother.  Everything is better when you’re winning.  Baseball is fun again.

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Andruw Jones shares a laugh with teammates during the game against the Angels July 8th.

How long will it last?  To quote former MLB pitcher Joaquin Andujar, “you never know”.

Don’t wake me up until early November, please!

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