Notes: Offensive records falling
Members of the White Sox seeing hitting success
CHICAGO -- Power at the plate is something the 2006 White Sox are known for. Their powerful lineup has been knocking around the league's best pitchers all season.
As a team, the Sox already have accrued 672 runs this year, on pace to obliterate last year's total of 741. They have a team batting average of .286, compared to last year's .262.
"I expected us to be better offensively, but I didn't expect us to be this good," hitting coach Greg Walker said. "That said, we could be even better, because we're still not doing certain parts of the game. When you're talking about offensive baseball, there's always things you could be doing better. We're on track to score close to 200 more runs than we scored last year in a world championship season, so that's a great improvement."
The White Sox are the only team in baseball to have four players with 80 or more RBIs: Jim Thome (89), Jermaine Dye (88), Paul Konerko (83) and Joe Crede (80). The Mets are the only other team to have three players with more than 70 RBIs. The same four Chicago players also rank in the top 10 in slugging percentage in the American League.
Walker couldn't put his finger on what exactly they were doing to make this year's lineup so much better than the one that helped win the World Series.
"I think it's a combination of a lot of things, the most obvious is the addition of Jim Thome and what he adds to the middle of our lineup," Walker said. "Then there's maturity of guys like Joe Crede coming into his own. The fact that Jermaine Dye and A.J. [Pierzynski], it's their second year with us. We know them better and they know us better, so they're more comfortable."
Besides team records and goals, players are on track to shatter many of their personal records. Crede already has eclipsed his previous career high of 75 RBIs in a season.
"Personal goals are No. 2, and No. 1 is to go out there and win," Crede said. "Last year hitting .250 and hitting 20-some homers, I felt like I hit .300 and 30. Winning the whole thing, it seems like personal goals are set aside. When you win like that, you feel like everybody had a good year."
With 36 home runs already this season, Thome has joined six others as the only players to hit 35 home runs with three different teams. He did it with Cleveland in five seasons and with Philadelphia in two.
"It¹s fun to watch. You see a guy like Jim Thome, who has 35 homers, and who knows how many more he's going to hit the rest of the year," Crede said. "With Konerko and Dye, I mean, we have a lot of good hitters on this team, and it's a lot of fun to watch and it is fun to be a part of."
Going deep: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has said many times how lucky his team is to have such a deep bench, and he hoped Wednesday night would be a good example.
Guillen decided to give Dye and Juan Uribe the night off and start Ross Gload at second and Alex Cintron at shortstop. Rob Mackowiak took over center-field duties for the night for Brian Anderson.
"[Dye] needed the day off. He's been playing a lot. He's been getting a lot of work because he's running the bases and catching balls in the outfield," Guillen said. "Gload has been swinging the bat real well. I'm going to give Mackowiak a couple at-bats because he hasn't played in awhile, too. Those guys need some breaks."
Guillen stressed the freshness of his bench players and thanked his coaching staff for keeping them sharp.
"I don't like to say I give a day off for my players -- I like to say I'm keeping my bench ready to go," Guillen said. "That's why I'm not afraid to play anyone from the bench, because I know they're ready to go. I'm not afraid to pinch-hit anybody because I know they are ready. I think the reason they do well is because we make them part of the ballclub."
Progress report: More than one-third of the way through their stretch of 24 straight games, the White Sox are 6-3. They lost the opener to the Angels, took two of three from the Yankees, swept the Tigers and split the first two games against the Royals. The White Sox play without an off-day until Aug. 28.
Down on the farm: Triple-A Charlotte lost, 5-1, at Louisville on Tuesday, but Ernie Young hit his 12th home run of the season and got his 62nd RBI. ... Adam Russell only gave up two earned runs in six innings in his start for Double-A Birmingham, but he got a no-decision in the team's 3-2 loss to Jacksonville. ... White Sox first-round pick in this year's First-Year Player Draft Kyle McCulloch got his second win at Class A Winston-Salem. He pitched six innings and only gave up one earned run in a 5-1 win over Potomac. Daron Roberts went 3-4 with a home run and three RBIs.
Up next: The White Sox will finish their series with the Royals on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. CT. Mark Buehrle (9-10, 4.87 ERA) will face Odalis Perez (0-0, 5.40) before the White Sox head to Minnesota.
Leslie Parker is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.