After some April showers, are White Sox seeing clear skies and an extended hot streak?
Unless our eyes are tricking us, they’re 12-9. They’re nipping at the first-place Royals’ heels. They’re not even a month in, and they’re just fine.
Is it possible the White Sox haven’t even been going at it for a month yet?
Think about all they’ve already been through, starting with a major injury to slugger Eloy Jimenez late in spring training that was as much of an emotional gut punch as it was a blow to a potentially elite lineup.
Then came a coughed-up late lead against the Angels in the season opener — a sign of persistent struggles to come for a bullpen that was supposed to be outstanding. How outstanding? Top of the line, according to the team’s hard-throwing relievers themselves, who talked a mighty big game in Glendale, Arizona.
The Sox ended their opening road trip with a losing record. They ended their first homestand and still had a losing record. They lost shortstop Tim Anderson to a 10-day injury stint as they monitored a risky, ongoing left-field experiment with Andrew Vaughn. They saw veteran fifth starter Carlos Rodon, who’d fought hard to earn that modest role, pitch the greatest game of his life and ace Lucas Giolito experience the worst start of his big-league career.
And through it all: the out-of-nowhere explosion of rookie batsman Yermin Mercedes, as good a story as there is in all of baseball in 2021.
And all on 76-year-old manager Tony La Russa’s watch.
And now here the Sox are — with a nice Monday off — having swept the Rangers at Guaranteed Rate Field to run their first hot streak of the campaign to six wins in seven games. Unless our eyes are tricking us, they’re 12-9. They’re nipping at the first-place Royals’ heels. They’re not even a month in, and they’re just fine.
Here’s what’s happening:
Cubs at Braves (6 p.m., Marquee)
Atlanta’s ballpark is barely four years old and already has undergone a name change, from SunTrust Park to Truist Park. How could these people host an All-Star Game if they can’t even spell “truest”?
Bulls at Heat (7 p.m., NBCSCH)
Still with a chance to sneak into the 10th and final East playoff spot, the Bulls simply can’t afford to lose. But that’s never stopped them before.
Champions League: Real Madrid vs. Chelsea (2 p.m., Paramount+, Univision)
It isn’t the same Madrid squad that owned Europe for half a decade behind Cristiano Ronaldo, but that just makes Los Blancos vs. Blues more compelling heading into the first leg.
Lightning at Blackhawks (7 p.m., NBCSCH+)
The defending Stanley Cup champs have made a mockery of the season series, going 6-0-1. Who do they think they are, the Predators?
Tigers at White Sox (7:10 p.m., NBCSCH)
Giolito runs back out there on the heels of the shortest start of his career: one miserable inning in Boston. But that’s why God invented the Tigers.
Champions League: Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester City (2 p.m., Paramount+, Univision)
Leg 1 in Paris will be the biggest test yet for City — best team in the world? — only three wins shy of completing an unbeaten romp through the tournament.
Bulls at Knicks (6:30 p.m., NBCSCH+)
The Knicks lead the NBA in field-goal-percentage defense, and their best players — Julius Randle and RJ Barrett — play every dang game. Tom Thibodeau is in full effect, folks.
NFL draft, Round 1 (7 p.m., Ch. 7, ESPN, NFLN)
By the time it gets to the Bears at No. 20, your cousin Earl’s kid might be the only QB left on the board. A cornerback, then? A receiver? A left tackle to protect Andy Dalton’s coiffure?
NFL draft, Rounds 2-3 (11 a.m., Ch. 7, ESPN, NFLN)
Who knows what GM Ryan Pace might do with picks Nos. 52 and 83? Maybe, just maybe, they’ll have been used to help the Bears move up in Round 1.
Cubs at Reds (6:10 p.m., Marquee)
Halfway through April, the Reds looked like contenders. Two weeks later, they might as well be the Bengals.
Indians at White Sox (7:10 p.m., NBCSCH)
The Indians can’t get ’em on, can’t get ’em over and can’t get ’em in. Other than that, their offense sure is something.
Bucks at Bulls (8 p.m., NBCSCH+)
Eleven straight losses — that’s how bad it has been for the Bulls in this alleged rivalry series. Like Packers-Bears wasn’t enough?
NFL draft, Rounds 4-7 (11 a.m., Ch. 7, ESPN, NFLN)
If you’re watching the draft for the third day in a row, face it — you’re beyond help. The good news is there’s absolutely nothing better you could be doing with your time.
Notre Dame Blue-Gold game (11:30 a.m., Peacock)
If Drew Pyne is going to wrest the starting QB role from transfer Jack Coan’s hands, this is the time to strut his stuff. If only we could be first to make a “Pyne/Coan” crack.
Kentucky Derby (1:30 p.m., Ch. 5)
Trainer Bob Baffert goes for a record seventh Derby win, this time with Medina Spirit, though Essential Quality checks in as the betting favorite. There’s also a Midnight Bourbon and a Bourbonic in the field. Anyone else thirsty? Post time: 5:57.
Panthers at Blackhawks (7 p.m., NBCSCH)
Guess who? It’s Q. Joel Quenneville’s gritty group just keeps finding ways to win.
Cubs at Reds (12:10 p.m., Marquee)
Fun fact: The Cubs have lost three straight Sunday games, by a combined score of 26-5. So they’ve got that going for them.
Indians at White Sox (1:10 p.m., NBCSCH)
It’s a new month for the Sox and a chance to really step on the gas. Insert Mercedes segue here.