Youkilis latest part of White Sox success

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:00 AM ET

CHICAGO - The resurgence of slugger Adam Dunn is not only a feel-good story, but is one of the reasons why the Chicago White Sox are one of the surprise teams in the big leagues.

It's not that the White Sox were thought to be road kill entering the season as compared to the fact that everyone conceded the division to the Detroit Tigers.

But with the Tigers scuffling and not yet hitting their stride, the White Sox were more than ready to move on in thanks in great part to Dunn and company.

Dunn has belted 25 home runs and driven in 60 runs, two stats that got the attention of Texas manager Ron Washington and a spot on the all-star squad.

The resurgence of another member of the Chisox, though not as flamboyant as that of Dunn's, has also given heft and depth to their offence and that is the season that former Blue Jay Alex Rios is putting together.

Rios has had nothing but troubled times and disappointment since he was released by the Jays and picked up by the White Sox in 2009.

This season, though, a new Rios has emerged, a confident player that has ridden a nine-game hitting streak to a .317 average. To go along with his average, Rios has banged out 11 homers and driven in 45 runs.

That's a far cry from 2011 when he ended the season hitting .227 with his job in jeopardy.

This season, though, Rios has taken a new approach at the plate as he carries his hands higher. He also has a changed attitude and doesn't dwell on the past or negatives.

"I stopped worrying about that," Rios said. "I'm just focusing on my approach."

The big news in the South Side of late, though, is the arrival of Kevin Youkilis, who came over in a trade with the Red Sox 10 games ago.

Initially 'Youk' scuffled. In the four-game series against the Yankees in the Bronx, he went 1-for-14.

But once he arrived in the Windy City, Youkilis has had a pretty good coming-out party in his first hometown series against the Texas Rangers.

In his 'debut' on Tuesday, Youkilis hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat and ended the game going 3-for-6 with four RBIs in the White Sox 19-2 rout.

On Wednesday, Youkilis came to the fore again. It was his RBI single in the 10th that provided the ChiSox with a 5-4 walkoff victory.

He certainly has impressed manager Robin Ventura with his gritty style of play.

"That at-bat (in the 10th) just really described it best," Ventura gushed to reporters.

"He's 0-2, he's grinding and it's just continuous. That's the kind of stuff that is infectious throughout a lineup for us. Just grinding out at-bats; it's good for everybody to see that."

Looks like he has found a new home.


BLUE JAYS AT WHITE SOX

FRIDAY 8:10 p.m. LHP Aaron Laffey RHP Jake Peavy

SATURDAY 4:10 p.m. LHP Ricky Romero RHP Gavin Floyd

SUNDAY 2:10 p.m. LHP Brett Cecil TBA


RUTSEY'S TAKE

By the midway point of the season everybody expected the Detroit Tigers to be home and cooled out in the AL Central. The White Sox, though, had other plans and hold a two-game edge over the surprising Central in what is now a wide-open race. GM Kenny Williams made a smart, quick strike in acquiring Red Sox hero Kevin Youkilis to add another bat to what is an impressive lineup.

PREDICTION

With the Jays going up against Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd in the first two games, and likely reliever Deunte Heath in the finale, the White Sox would appear to have the better starting pitching. The Jays should win just one of the three games.


WHITE SOX WHO'S HOT

  • RHP Chris Sale is 7-0 with a 1.71 ERA and 65 strikeouts in his past nine starts. Overall he is 10-2 with a 2.19 ERA.
  • SS Alexi Ramirez is hitting .413 (26-for-63) over his past 17 games.
  • RF Alex Rios is hitting .500 over his past nine games going 19-for-38 with three home runs and nine RBIs.

WHITE SOX WHO'S COLD

  • LHP Hector Santiago has allowed seven earned runs over his past nine outings. Left-handed hitters are raking him at a .320 clip (16-for-50). He has also given up seven homers on the season.
  • DH Adam Dunn is all-star bound but the big DH is batting just .143 (8-for-56) with two home runs over his last 16 games.
  • RHP Gavin Floyd is 2-3 in his past six starts. In his last start against the Yankees, he allowed eight hits and walked five while lasting just 5 1/3 innings.

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