In a trade that sent Chicago utilityman Brent Lillibridge and right-handed pitcher Zach Stewart to the Red Sox, the White Sox now look to expand their lead in the AL Central division with help from the three-time All-Star.
Youk's presence at the hot corner should breathe new life into an area of the White Sox's defense and offense that has struggled immensely in recent months. Their previous third baseman, Brent Morel, has been suffering from chronic back issues all season so Youkilis will be a welcome addition to the lineup.
Entering Monday night, the White Sox are owners of a 38-34 record — good enough for sole possession of first place in the AL Central. Only the Cleveland Indians (37-34) and the Detroit Tigers (35-37) threaten their lead within the division.
It's early in the season, but not too early to be considering division leaders come playoff time. And if the White Sox keep up the pace at which they are currently playing at, they have a good shot at being that team out of the AL Central.
The Sox rank seventh in runs scored on the season at 335. Likewise, they have the 15th best overall batting average, batting .225 as a team with a .408 slugging percentage, good enough for 11th overall in the league. Detroit and Cleveland rank 17th and 18th overall in runs scored, respectively.
Youkilis brings a .233 batting average and a .377 slugging percentage to the White Sox — slightly above the team average in both respects. Statistically, this means Youkilis should bring up the numbers, assuming he plays the way he has been playing. And as long as the White Sox can keep up their stellar play as a whole, they can very reasonably snag the AL Central division.
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