White Sox look to finish strong, play spoilers

White Sox look to finish strong, play spoilers

CHICAGO -- Featuring a record well south of .500, a recent three-game sweep at Kansas City and Saturday's victory over American League West-leading Texas earns the White Sox a title of playoff spoiler.

Those watching the White Sox and those who are part of the roster know there is more to the South Siders' 13-6 run entering Saturday than this baseball cliché. It's also about talent melding together and trying to put together a good finishing kick to positively take the team into 2014.

"Talking to the guys, they have pride and they want to play well," said Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski of his previous team. "Everyone expected them to be a lot better than they are. They are playing a little better now."

"I don't know that we're trying to be spoilers," White Sox starting pitcher Hector Santiago said. "We're still trying to win games and if that's what they want to call us and that's what happens, we still have to go out there and win games."

There has to be some satisfaction for the White Sox knocking the Royals' playoff chances down another notch, after Kansas City did the same to Robin Ventura's crew with a 12-6 head-to-head record in '12. This current period is more about evaluation for the White Sox, looking at young players of the future such as Josh Phegley and Avisail Garcia, but the will to win hasn't changed.

"For the most part, you're pushing it into next year. So you see who's coming to play," said Ventura of his expectations for the final five weeks. "Right now, that's what you're seeing with a lot of these guys playing. You just want them to be able to play and try to get as many wins as you can."

"We're definitely not giving up and not trying to lose 120 games," Santiago said. "We're trying to finish the season strong to have a positive feeling going into next year."

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.