"But again, you take it and don't dwell on it. Something you learn along the way is that you are never as good as they say you are and never as bad as they say you are. It's just the ups and downs of a baseball season. We are going to try to play as consistently good as we can."
Leyland took great umbrage to preseason prognostications of the White Sox as a fourth- or fifth-place team in the American League Central, not to mention a 95-loss prediction coming from Sports Illustrated. The Tigers leader then broke down in detail why the White Sox will contend following his team's series loss at U.S. Cellular Field.
"Look at their pitching staff. Look at the arms they bring out of the bullpen," Leyland told reporters. "Paul Konerko's one of the best hitters in baseball. You know Adam Dunn's going to do a lot better than he did last year.
"[Alexei] Ramirez is one of the best shortstops in the league. [A.J.] Pierzynski's one of the best catchers, gets a lot of big hits. This is a real good team. I don't know why anybody would not pick these guys as a solid, solid contender. We've got a good team. So do they."
The White Sox never doubted they had a potential contender, although they readily acknowledged the Tigers were the team to beat. But if they would have started the season at 2-6, they would have talked about having plenty games left to play.
At 5-4 and with a good feeling emanating even after Monday's disappointing 10-4 loss in 10 innings to the Orioles, they feel the same way about the season's length.
"He's seen a lot of baseball, but that doesn't guarantee anything anyway. It's more about what we think and how we prepare and go about it," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Leyland. "Anybody can say anything, but it matters how you come in every day and how you think you're going to play. Once you get to the point where you think you're going to win the games you play, that's what you're looking for."
"It's very positive and encouraging to know that we are off to a good start within the division," Danks said. "We are eight or nine games in so we don't want to get ahead of ourselves. It has been a fun couple of weeks, just the atmosphere within the dugout and the clubhouse. If we can keep doing what we've done this first stretch, then I like our chances to play some meaningful games later in the season. That's the goal."