CHICAGO -- The White Sox reached their third postseason since 2000 by fending off the Minnesota Twins in the final days of the season and claiming the American League Central title. The South Siders suffered through a 72-90 record in 2007 -- the worst performance by a White Sox club since 1989. But 2008 was a complete turnaround.
With the addition of a few veteran relievers and Carlos Quentin's bat in the three-hole, the White Sox have played more like the homer-happy, pitching-led club of 2005 that earned the franchise's first World Series title in 88 years.
By month: April 14-13, May 16-13, June 17-10, July 13-12, August 17-11, September 10-15
The White Sox were in first place for a great majority of the 2008 season, including all but nine days since May 17. They led the Twins by as much as six games in mid-June, but the teams were never separated by more than 2 1/2 games after July 27.
Avg.: .264, T-9th in AL
Runs: 772, T-5th in AL
HRs: 223, 1st in AL
OPS: .784, 3rd in AL
The White Sox got it done with the long ball all season. In fact, no other team came close to their homer totals. During the regular season, the South Siders hit 36 more big flies than the next closest team (Detroit, 187).
Avg.: Alexei Ramirez, .294
HRs: Quentin, 36
RBIs: Quentin, 100
Runs: Quentin, 96
OPS: Quentin, .965
SB: Orlando Cabrera, 18
Despite missing the final weeks of the season with a fractured right wrist, Quentin still dominated the team's offensive totals. Quentin was not even on manager Ozzie Guillen's Opening Day roster but found his groove and made his first All-Star team.
Overall ERA: 3.98, 6th in AL
Starters ERA: 4.03, 5th in AL
Bullpen ERA: 3.89, 7th in AL
Strikeouts: 1,090, 5th in AL
HRs allowed: 148, 10th in AL
Opponents BA: .260, 6th in AL
The numbers looked significantly better at the All-Star break, when the White Sox had the best bullpen in the Majors. In the middle of the pack in most categories, the pitching staff has done just enough to keep the White Sox in games while letting the offense do the heavy lifting.
Wins: Gavin Floyd, 16
ERA (starter): John Danks, 3.20
ERA (reliever): Bobby Jenks, 2.51
Strikeouts: Javier Vazquez, 192
Saves: Jenks, 29
Holds: Octavio Dotel, 21
HRs allowed: Floyd, 30
Opponents BA: Floyd, .236
The White Sox got tremendous results from Danks and Floyd, especially considering the two hurlers were unproven at the Major League level. Despite being newcomers to the staff, Danks and Floyd led the way, particularly during the first half.
Fielding percentage: .982, tied for 11th in AL
Errors: 104, 4th fewest in AL
The White Sox featured natural shortstops at every infield position except first base. Ramirez played second base and Juan Uribe filled in at third for much of the second half while Joe Crede was sidelined with injuries. Ramirez's range was a big question mark for much of the year, but Cabrera helped make sure double plays got turned.
Jermaine Dye, .996
Paul Konerko, .993
April 18: White Sox 9, Rays 2 -- Sox offense pounds Jeff Niemann
April 19: White Sox 0, Rays 5 -- White Sox shut out for first time in '08
April 20: White Sox 6, Rays 0 -- Danks turns the tables to take series
May 29: White Sox 5, Rays 1 -- Konerko goes deep and Danks K's eight for win
May 30: White Sox 1, Rays 2 -- Scott Linebrink gives up walk-off homer to Cliff Floyd
May 31: White Sox 0, Rays 2 -- Scott Kazmir outduels Vazquez
June 1: White Sox 3, Rays 4 -- Gabe Gross' walk-off homer spurs Guillen tirade
Aug. 22: Rays 9, White Sox 4 -- Sox fall from first place
Aug. 23: Rays 5, White Sox 3 -- Vazquez retires first 17 batters, but bullpen drops the ball
Aug. 25: Rays 5, White Sox 6 -- A.J. Pierzynski causes controversy on bases and Sox salvage a win
The Rays might pose the toughest matchup for the White Sox in the postseason. With the exception of the first game between the two, the Rays seem to have the Sox figured out. The only good thing to come out of the four-game series between the clubs in late-May was an angry tirade from Guillen, which spurred the Sox to a seven-game winning streak.
vs. Red Sox: 3-4
vs. Rays: 4-6
vs. Angels: 5-5
vs. Phillies: 0-0
vs. Mets: 0-0
vs. Cubs: 3-3
vs. Dodgers: 2-1
The White Sox have not fared well against each division's best, owning a winning record against only the Dodgers. They took care of business against the AL Central, though, to the tune of a 41-24 record.
Pierzynski (87 AB, .287 BA, 5 HR, 16 RBIs)
Konerko (58 AB, .224 BA, 5 HR, 15 RBIs)
Uribe (42 AB, .286 BA, 1 HR, 6 RBIs)
Cabrera (112 AB, .259 BA, 1 HR, 18 RBIs)
Nick Swisher (20 AB, .200 BA, 0 HR, 1 RBI)
Dye (147 AB, .259 BA, 4 HR, 16 RBIs)
Thome (188 AB, .229 BA, 17 HR, 36 RBIs)
Ken Griffey Jr. (59 AB, .305 BA, 6 HR, 11 RBIs)
Mark Buehrle (5 G, 23 2/3 IP, 2-0, 3.42 ERA)
Vazquez (3 G, 11 1/3 IP, 1-0, 9.53 ERA)
Jenks (6 G, 8 IP, 4 SV, 2.25 ERA)
Octavio Dotel (4 G, 6 2/3 IP, 1-0, 6.75 ERA)
Linebrink (3 G, 2 1/3 IP, 3.86 ERA)
There's no shortage of playoff experience on this White Sox team. Thanks to its appearance in the '05 World Series, most of the club has extensive experience in the postseason. This will certainly be in the White Sox favor in a series against the Rays, who are in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
David Just is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.