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Upcoming games should offer better idea of White Sox’ viability

Yankees designated hitter Carlos Beltran runs the bases after hitting a home run off White Sox relief pitcher Zach Duke on Sunday. White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier watches. The Yankees won 7-5. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Even though the White Sox have the second-best record in the American League, you won’t see them or their fans strutting. That’s probably because last season’s struggles aren’t very far away and because few people are sure of the team’s staying power just yet.

The Sox have hit a speed bump, losing four of their last five games. The bullpen has struggled, and although there’s no panic in the streets, there is some uneasiness.

Who are these guys? What can we say definitively about them? The starting rotation is mostly good, Chris Sale is a monster and the heavily tatted Brett Lawrie plays the crazy role well. What else?

Let’s find out.

The next 17 games will go a long way toward deciding whether the forward motion continues the rest of the season. The Sox return to The Cell on Tuesday for a three-game series against the Astros, followed by a three-game series at home against the Royals. Houston, a playoff team last season, is 15-24 and in last place in the AL West. Kansas City, last year’s World Series champions, is 18-19.

Better get those teams while they’re down.

The Sox then play four games at home against second-place Cleveland, travel to Kansas City for a four-game series and move to New York for a three-game series against the Mets, who lost in the World Series last season.

The Sox, along with Detroit, have played the most road games in the majors so far – 23. Of their next 29 games, 19 will be at home. They have every right to believe that when they come out of that team-friendly stretch, they’ll be where they are now, with one of the best records in baseball. Will they be? Now that’s a good question.

Proof. More proof, please.