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John Labombarda
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April 25 - One Man's Opinion

The biggest surprise of this young baseball season is the Chicago White Sox. The Sox are 15-4, the
best record after 19 games in team history, and have a four-game lead over the Twins in the American
League Central Division. It’s also the Sox largest lead since they won the Central Division by five games
in 2000.

How are the 2005 Palehose doing it? Pitching, pitching and more pitching….and some good defense
too! Chicago’s pitching staff has a combined ERA of 3.12, by far the best in the American League and
they have allowed only four unearned runs this season, only Baltimore (three) has allowed fewer. And
the starting pitchers are performing even better. The Sox starting five have a combined record of 10-3
with a 2.84 ERA and have allowed only 101 hits in 123 2/3 innings pitched this season. That’s quite a
turnaround from last season’s starters which ranked 12th in the league with a 5.17 ERA and allowed
1096 hits in 1008 innings.

Mark Buehrle might be the best pitcher in the major leagues that nobody knows about. Buehrle has 68
wins since the start of the 2001 season, tied for sixth-most in the majors and only one fewer than the
mighty Randy Johnson. Besides the Big Unit, the only other pitchers with more wins than Buehrle over
the last four plus seasons are Curt Schilling (75), Mark Mulder (74), Bartolo Colon (70), and Roger
Clemens (69).

A revamped top the order has also been helpful. Scott Podsednik, acquired from the Brewers in a mid-
December trade for Carlos Lee, and Japanese import Tadahito Iguchi are both hitting over .300 and
have given the Sox a one-two punch that might be among the best in the major leagues.

Of course it’s still too early in the season to anoint the Sox as contenders. After all, their early season
schedule has been quite favorable: six games against the Indians, three against the Mariners, two
against the Tigers and three against the mighty Royals. Only three games against the Twins, in which
they went 2-1, were against top-notch competition.