As the White Sox scratch and crawl their way to respectability they’ve managed to stay within striking distance of the Cleveland Indians and also give themselves a little breathing room from the Tigers; currently the 2011 White Sox.

In fact, if you look at the division standings comparison from this year to last year at the same time it’s about the same situation. The main difference is all the teams trailing the Indians at the moment are closer then they were last season, and despite not living up to the billing so far this season the Tigers are only ½ game worse than they were last year at this time in the standings.

2011 Standings

2012 Standings

While Price Fielder is not having a 2011 Adam Dunn year, he’s still not living up to the dollars that he’s been paid to patrol first base for the next nine seasons. That also seems to be a matter of time before Prince gets in his groove; he’s a quality player. He’s actually my favorite first baseman next to Paul Konerko basically because they both have great personalities and churn out consistent numbers year after year.

I digress; the Sox have a huge opportunity to make a big move in the AL Central this weekend in their three game series against the Indians at beautiful U.S. Cellular Field. The Sox will send Double-A call-up, Jose Quintana, to the mound to face the red-hot Tribe coming off a sweep of the Tigers. Quintana pitched in one game this season and it was against the Indians in which he last 5-2/3 innings striking out three and allowing just one hit. I like our chances this evening.

Jake Peavy takes the mound on Saturday; I like our chances again in that one. A bigger question than Quintana’s start this evening is which Gavin Floyd will take the mound on Sunday. Every year Floyd goes through a bad stretch or two, so the question is, “is it over?” Let’s hope so, and we get a Sox sweep or at least win the series.

The Sox power numbers are on the rise as they hit five homers last night by five different players, the record is eight for a game. They continue to improve on offense, which is a promising sign for things to come.

Something I find interesting about the standings above is there’s a category “POFF” that measures the probability of the team making the playoffs, and the Sox are 50.5 over 2% points higher than the first place Indians. Kind of amazing considering that the Indians have a 3-1/2 game lead on the Sox; I guess no one believes the Indians are for real.

I’m fairly confident that the Indians will not be in first place by mid-June, and will be fighting to stay in the race by July. They are the same team they were last year outside of the senior citizen signing of Johnny Damon. The Indians are the team we all thought they were; they just need to realize it.