White Sox not taking success for granted
Guillen happy with team's confidence level, performance
DETROIT -- The 2008 version of the White Sox has played with a high level of confidence as a unit since the start of Spring Training, which some advertisements supporting the team would lead you to believe is a certain kind of swagger.
That swagger, though, has not turned into pure cockiness.
Take Ozzie Guillen's response to Tuesday's pregame question as to whether his team finds itself in a good position right now. The White Sox entered Tuesday with a 6 1/2-game lead in the American League Central, the largest advantage of any division leader, and were the lone team above .500.
Yet, Guillen wasn't about to advise the organization to start printing playoff tickets.
"I hope we are in this position on Sept. 23, and then I'll talk about it," Guillen said. "Right now, the Tigers still have unbelievable talent, Cleveland is still good and Minnesota will bounce back from the weekend.
"We have to take it one day at a time. It's not easy in the American League Central."
Detroit came into this three-game set facing an almost must-win situation. That's right: after 63 games, a team many picked as a preseason World Series favorite sits 11 games under .500 and 11 games behind the White Sox.
Part of the reason for that Detroit optimism was the acquisition of Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis from Florida during the Winter Meetings, with Cabrera giving the Tigers what appeared to be baseball's most potent attack. Willis became the major sticking point in a possible deal with the White Sox, along with not having the desired prospects to match up, as these negotiations basically came to an end after just a few conversations.
On Tuesday evening, Willis, his 10.32 ERA and his 21 walks in 11 1/3 innings all were sent down to the Minors. In this instance, it looks as if the best trade made by the White Sox was the one that didn't happen.
"We're happy with what we have," said Guillen, who predicted Willis would bounce back from this horrendous start. "[General manager] Kenny [Williams] got me what I wanted. I wanted two baseball players, and Kenny got me Cabrera, Orlando and then [Nick] Swisher.
"When he went and got [Octavio] Dotel and [Scott] Linebrink that helped me a lot. When Detroit built this ballclub, we thought the only way we can beat them is pitching, so we went out and got the best pitching we could on the market.
"We did everything we wanted to do in the winter to get this ballclub where we are right now," Guillen added. "The thing is, when you don't get the player you want, people get mad at you. You don't have to please the people, you have to do what's best for the ballclub."
Having just manhandled the Twins, with Detroit hurting because of Jeremy Bonderman's season-ending injury and with Cleveland in trouble due to the same sort of issue with Jake Westbrook, the White Sox appear to be in complete control. Guillen wasn't buying into such logic.
Then again, he wasn't feeling any pity for the trials and tribulations suffered by the teams below the White Sox. Guillen found himself in the same predicament just one year removed.
"I'd rather be here than be where they all are right now, of course, because I was in the same situation that they are last year, and no one felt sorry for me," said Guillen with a smile. "Last year, I had [Scott] Podsednik down, [Joe] Crede down, Jose [Contreras] down and everyone was real excited about it. The less bullets there are, the better, but we have to worry about our health, our game."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.