The Chicago White Sox had probably their best season in 2020 since they won the World Series in 2005. Outside a playoff appearance in 2008, it's been a long drought for the Southsiders and now they are about to enter what should be a long reign atop the AL Central and beyond. With Francisco Lindor moving onto the Mets, Cleveland looks to be starting a new era headlined by an eventual new name.
How to Watch the Chicago White Sox on fuboTV
A majority of games will be available on the local Regional Sports Network NBC Sports Chicago. Others will be broadcast on national channels. Check here for the full-season schedule.
TV: NBC Sports Chicago, ESPN, FOX, FS1, MLB Network (out of market only)
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The Royals have been rebuilding really ever since they won it all more than five years ago but have an exciting rookie of the year shortstop prospect Bobby Witt Jr. Either way it's going to be awhile until they contend again. Detroit is in a similar rebuilding mode but have former Astros manager A.J. Hinch who helped pull up out of Houston's nose dive.
So it's just the Sox and the Twins at the top of this division for the foreseeable future. They didn't add much to their first-place finishing team accept for re-signing Nelson Cruz. So the division is for the taking. Even if these two meet in the playoffs, the Twins have lost a North American record 17-games in a row in the postseason. This young core that has slowly built up is going to come into just in time for Tony La Russa's return to the White Sox bench in more than 35 years.
La Russa's obviously one of the greatest managers of all time being elected in the Hall of Fame in 2014. The hire still seems like a strange one since he hasn't been a manager in a decade since he won the 2011 World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals. La Russa is the first manager ever to return to the game after being inducted into the Hall.
La Russa was pretty good in his tenure in Chicago from 1979-86 but really came into his own winning championships with the Athletics and Cardinals. He won manager of the year in 1983 reaching the ALCS ultimately losing to the eventual champ Baltimore Orioles. But other than that, his teams had pretty pedestrian seasons until he got another chance in Oakland.
Another reason it feels strange is that manager Rick Renteria finally was coaching a winning team after having little success up to that point coaching both the Cubs and Sox. It seems that it was Renteria's job to develop this young core like he did on the North Side until they were ready and then a coach with a playoff pedigree could swoop in. That happened to Bo Porter in Houston before Hinch was hired and they ultimately won the Series in 2017. (Legitimately or not.)
It didn't help that the White Sox lost to the A's in the opening wild card series. It will be the biggest question of the season whether the 76-year old La Russa can adapt to a game that has become much more geared toward analytics since the last time he coached. It should help that he has held executive roles since his managerial retirement with the Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Angeles and MLB.
The most pressing concern on the field is the pectoral tear that Eloy Jimenez sustained this week. The star left fielder was trying to rob A's catcher Sean Murphy of a homer and the wall won. The initial diagnosis is that he'd be out for five to six months but in slightly better news, he is scheduled for surgery today (March 30) and may miss four to five months. This team will more than stay afloat in the playoff chase by then with heavy hitters José Abreu, Tim Anderson and Luis Robert. Getting Jimenez's bat back should send them over the top for their first back-to-back playoff appearances, believe it or not, for the first time in franchise history. Yes this club played their first game in 1901 has never been to the playoffs in consecutive years. This season is where that all changes.