I stated in my team breakdown that this team had to get some production from unexpected sources. To this point, Jake Peavy and Adam Dunn have been the unexpected sources. Obviously, when Peavy was acquired from the San Diego Padres and Dunn was signed as a free agent from the Washington Nationals, they were expected to immediately contribute. Peavy has battled arm problems during his stay on the south side, while Dunn is coming off a season so bad, it was legendary. He hit .159 with 11 HR and 42 RBI while striking out 177 times in 122 games. This was coming from a guy who had back to back 38 HR seasons in Washington after 5 straight 40 HR seasons. He has 15 HRs to this point, without a doubt regaining his power stroke. Peavy has been one of the best pitchers in the AL this season, going 6-1 in his 10 starts. a 3.07 ERA and averaging over 7 innings a start. Chris Sale, a converted reliever, is 5-2 with a sub 3.00 ERA, on a staff known for leaders Gavin Floyd and John Danks, and of course Phillip Humber and his perfect game.
Of course, the team would be nowhere without their team leader and star player Paul Konerko. Konerko is one of the most underrated stars in the game and gets little attention other than in the south side of Chicago. His .399 BA, .476 OBP and 211 OPS+ all lead the AL. Konerko has been a constant on this team and it is no surprise he continues to put up numbers. What has hurt the Sox in the past three seasons is the lack of help Konerko has gotten.
While Peavy and Dunn have injected some life in this team, there are some questions going forward. The bullpen has no identity. Addison Reed is the closer after Hector Santiago got the first try. Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain are probably better options being they have prior experience. Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham have not risen to expectations. Neither has Alexei Ramirez, who signed his extension last year. But, they do have some veteran presence with C AJ Pierzynski. There is a chance they can do what was expected last season. GM Ken Williams nearly lost his job after going "all-in" last year. The team failed mightily, costing manager Ozzie Guillen his job. I find it amazing that they have performed better with essentially the same personnel. Manager Robin Ventura deserves some credit. This is a team I will keep my eye on, if they can continue this play for another month or so, there is no reason they cannot be in a wild card race or win AL Central if the Tigers are going to continue to perform as badly as they have.