Paul Konerko is set to rejoin the Chicago White Sox on Friday night as they start a three-game weekend set in Kansas City against the Royals, and thank goodness for that. Concussions can be a tricky thing: just ask NHL star Sidney Crosby or divisional foe Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins. The White Sox's captain hasn't played since taking an elbow to the head against the Royals on April 7, but the Sox's offense has been surprisingly potent without him. Chicago bombed five homers in a 7-2 victory over the Blue Jays on Thursday, giving the South Siders four wins in their last five games.
Yes, as Jim Margalus notes over at South Side Sox, Konerko was struggling mightily before taking the 'bow, hitting just 8-for-47 (.170/.231/.298) since July 25. Even still, it was hard to expect much improvement in his stead out of the unruly group of castoffs comprising the Sox's bench this year. And then, out of nowhere, the most pleasant of pleasant surprises hit: the recently signed Dewayne Wise, best known around these parts for saving Mark Buehrle's perfect game in 2009 with an amazing leaping catch, caught fire. As Konerko sits, Wise is hitting .353/.353/.706 over his last 17 at-bats. He's homered in each of his last two games. This is a wonderful, senseless development.
The 34-year old Wise was signed by Chicago this month after being let go by the New York Yankees. Here's the story of Wise's year as a sub: horrid in May (.341 OPS in 23 at-bats), great in June (1.389 OPS in 18 at-bats), solid in July (.736 in 20 at-bats). He's mashing again in August, giving the Sox the shot in the arm they desperately needed without Paulie.
Konerko has now been activated from the disabled list, meaning Wise's at-bats are going to be cut. This is a good thing; Wise is hitting over his head and certainly won't be able to keep up the 1.059 OPS he's sporting this month. This is what happens with good teams, though. Weird, unexplainable stuff, like DeWayne Wise acting as a perfectly fine replacement for Paul Konerko for a week.
It just gives me more confidence as the Sox continue to make their postseason push. This last month and a half of baseball is going to be really fun.