Heavily armed White Sox have dynasty look


June 04, 1994|By Jim Henneman hTCSO: Sun Staff Writer

They don't even have the best record in the American League, let alone the majors, but don't be misled. A strong argument can be made that the team playing against the Orioles this weekend is the best in baseball.

The more the Chicago White Sox are analyzed, the more impressive they become. If the top two pitchers (Jack McDowell and Alex Fernandez, who are 7-13 combined) in the rotation find their normal groove, and all else remains the same, the players association is the only group that figures to be able to stop this team.

For the past two years it has been acclaimed that the Atlanta Braves have the best pitching staff in the big leagues. However, it may be time to re-count the ballots.

When the third, fourth and fifth starters (Wilson Alvarez, Jason Bere and Scott Sanderson) are a combined 19-1 without an ERA above 3.43, they tend to draw some attention. And when the reigning Cy Young Award winner is the least effective of the five starters, it is reason to suggest a team can be overmatched not just any given day, but every day.

The number 3-4-5 batters carry even more significance when those spots are examined. Frank Thomas, Julio Franco and Robin Ventura have a combined 150 RBIs, a startling average of three per game with just less than a third of the season gone.

The White Sox's only discernible weakness is their fielding -- they are the poorest defensive team in the American League -- yet they have no glaring weaknesses.

Going into last night, the White Sox led the American League in hitting (.291), runs (313) and ERA (3.88). That's a powerful trifecta, and there isn't a team in the AL that can come close.

And the real bad news for the rest of the AL is that the worst may be yet to come. The White Sox are not only good, but also young enough to think about using the dynasty word.

A year ago the White Sox made the postseason for the first time in 10 years, but left before intermission. In the next few years, they should have a chance to hear the fat lady sing.

It's an impressive, and imposing, group that has only scratched the surface.

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