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At Home In The NL's Basement

Of course they go on a tear during interleague play against the last-place Pirates (ha!) and last-place Nationals (double ha!).

And of course the talk now is that the Sox are turning things around, that they're right back in it, that the pieces are coming together to start the drive for grind/grinder/grit/2005, because why would anyone think otherwise? Why wouldn't the Nationals engaging the Sox in a pair of pitchers' duels suggest greatness? Why wouldn't toppling the Pirates be an indicator of a World Series parade to come?

They don't, and really this couldn't have happened at a worse time. Now management doesn't have to break up the team and plan for the future because, the Sox "are built to contend, as shown by this stretch of baseball," or whatever it is the front office and the idiots calling in to The Score have to say about it. No one has to make any difficult decisions about moving beloved veterans; no one has to worry just yet about the dip in that sweet, sweet t-shirt revenue; no one has to think of the ramifications that simple baseball logic would have on attendance. Some of us might be happy about this; most of us, those of us who care, anyway, are not.

Because what we really know now isn't that the Sox can compete, per se, but that they can hold their own against the teams that aren't worth holding it against. Can the Sox beat crappy National League teams? Of course they can, and we've known this all along; not because they are any good, but because this year's Sox were built to be a crappy National League team in the first place. Yes, stretches of victory are awesome and hey, look at that, the gap between the Sox and the big kids is shrinking. In the meantime, the first-place Braves are coming to town and if the Sox keep playing 1.000 ball when faced with, you know, a real opponent, maybe then we should get excited.

But until that happens, we can embrace the knowledge that the Sox are just good enough to beat DH-less basement dwellers; in short, they have shown us without question that they, if they had to, can easily defeat the White Sox. And I don't think that's anything we didn't already know.

Week in Review: Invincible. A sweep of the Pirates followed by a sweep of the Nationals make the White Sox the mightiest team in baseball, apparently.

Week in Preview: 2003-National-League-postseason-loserful. Three at home against the Braves followed by a three-game visit from some team.

Hawkeroo's Can-O-Corn Watch: "You know, a lot of guys might think that it's about this league plays better than that, or how this team doesn't stand a chance because of who they're up against, but I'll tell you, I've seen some bad teams win good divisions, and I've seen some great teams lose some really not-competitive divisions, and that counts double once we're into the playoffs. Because you can't be thinking, oh, we have to outplay this team from our division, or we have to be better than that team over there, because as long as you can be better than the teams that don't play in the division or league you're not facing, you can worry about being better today against this opponent in today's game. And you do that, 80, 90, 100 times a year, you're gonna be in pretty good shape once the playoffs come around, because that's when you really need to know who you're facing."

Gordon Beckham Hall of Fame Update: Gordon Beckham complete games played this week: Six. Jim Thome complete games played this week: Zero. Advantage: Beckham.

Alumni News You Can Use: Former White Sox DH Jim Thome, former White Sox utility man Ross Gload, former White Sox ulcer-inducer Jose Contreras and former White Sox bust prospect Jon Rauch joined forces Saturday to help the Philadelphia Phillies blow a five-run lead going into the ninth inning.

The "H" in "DH" Stands For: Home sweet home, as the legendary bats of Mark Kotsay, Andruw Jones, and Omar Vizquel will become fully exploitable once more as the Sox return to the South Side for the remainder of interleague play. National League pitchers were reported as displaying no specific anxiety over this.

The Q Factor: Eyes focused on the horizon, Carlos Quentin turned to his companion and remarked of the upcoming homestand, "There is that idea to the name, yes, certainly: Brave. Heroic. Warrior. Defender. Take away the ridiculous cartoons that team once used to sell itself and what are we left with but an abstraction? It would be akin to renaming the White Sox the Dominance, and I find it most interesting that these men, these mortals in charge, that they choose to latch onto that more plebeian of interpretations, where a club which could have been a monument to what humans are capable of in the face of fear, they instead chose to gloss over the tragedies upon which this nation was built, giving white southerners inflatable tomahawks rather than teach them how best to live life to its fullest in harmonious oneness with the world around them. To be fearless - to be brave, as it were. I, then, will be brave. For them, I will because for all, I must."

The Guillen Meter: His team playing its best baseball of the season, the Guillen Meter reads 2 for "Keep it up but come on, how the hell are we still 5.5 behind the Twins?"

Endorsement No-Brainer: The Chicago White Sox's tear through interleague baseball for Disney/Pixar's 2007 film Ratatouille: Shut up and eat your garbage.

Cubs Snub: SI.com's Jon Heyman reports Cubs brass "privately tell folks they worry about Lou Piniella's health." You know what? If your best batter was a 32-year-old minor leaguer, I'd be worried about your health, too. The White Sox Report wishes better days for Sweet Lou, but also looks forward to the South Siders delivering his team's death blow this coming weekend.

The White Sox Report: Read 'em all.

The Cub Factor: It's funny because it's true.

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Andrew Reilly lives in Chicago and will believe it when he sees it. The White Sox Report welcomes your comments.

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