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Depth of pitching staff may give White Sox edge


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It didn't take White Sox reliever Matt Lindstrom very long to realize what his team could have in its 2013 pitching staff.

"We have a chance to carry this club, and we all know we can score runs," Lindstrom said. "I would say one through 12, with our starters, and who we have in our bullpen, it's probably as deep of a staff as I've ever been on."

Lindstrom's comment certainly isn't meant as some sort of dig at the White Sox offense. It's a group that has scored at least eight runs in four of its first five Cactus League games, although many of those runs are being brought home by players who won't make the Opening Day roster against pitchers who won't be there either.

With Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Dayan Viciedo in the middle of their lineup, the White Sox have a chance to provide plenty of solid support. Ultimately, though, teams win and lose championships based on their pitching staffs. It was true for the White Sox in 2005 and should be true again in 2013.

"I've said a good pitching staff can literally take you to the White House," White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. "And when you are not performing, it can literally take you to the [outhouse].

"Let me tell you this. I've always thought we have to carry the team. We've seen it. We've lived it. You only go as far as the pitching staff. I've always thought that the responsibility, the biggest one, is the pitching staff's."

Cooper reiterated an old mantra that there are three areas needed for victory: pitching, offense and defense. The White Sox might rely a little more on that first element.

Their regular starting staff takes center stage beginning Friday, with Chris Sale getting the call. Dylan Axelrod, Erik Johnson, Nestor Molina and Simon Castro were a few of the younger starters who took the mound during this first week, showing the White Sox they might be more than 12-deep on their staff.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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