Konerko leads Sox over KC in Dream Bracket

April 20th, 2020

CHICAGO -- How would a White Sox team featuring a star-studded roster including Frank Thomas, Magglio Ordonez, Billy Pierce, Nellie Fox, Luke Appling, Eddie Collins and Carlton Fisk perform as a unit?

Well, that group has proven strong enough to advance to the Round of 16 in the MLB Dream Bracket following a 4-1 series victory over the Royals in the Round of 32. Chicago will face the A's, who dispatched the Rays in the first round, in the Round of 16.

Paul Konerko led the offense with a .421 average, three home runs and seven RBIs in the series victory, and Minnie Minoso also hit .421. The White Sox received quality starts from everyone but Mark Buehrle in the five games, with Pierce winning both of his starts and posting a 1.84 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. Chicago homered eight times.

The MLB Dream Bracket is a 32-team best-of-seven simulation featuring all-time teams for each of the 30 current Major League franchises, as well as teams consisting of Negro Leagues Stars and 25 & Under Stars. The 26-man rosters for each team, compiled by the MLB.com beat reporters, consist of 15 hitters and 11 pitchers.

For the simulation, players are rated using the average of their three best seasons on a single team. Rosters were constructed with balanced depth to specifically compete in a simulated regulation game. Here is a look at the game-by-game results.

Game 1: White Sox 8, Royals 3

A four-run eighth inning turned a hard-fought opener into a comfortable five-run decision for the White Sox. Pierce earned the victory, striking out 10 over 6 2/3 innings, before Ed Walsh finished things off with two strikeouts over 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Konerko, the designated hitter, finished 3-for-3 with two home runs. He connected off Bret Saberhagen in the first and went back-to-back with Thomas in the sixth.

José Abreu also homered during the eighth inning, as Chicago knocked around Greg Holland and Kevin Appier. Fox added two hits and two RBIs.

Game 2: White Sox 4, Royals 3

Kansas City’s David Cone and the White Sox Wilbur Wood battled through five tight innings before Chicago turned a 2-1 deficit into what would eventually become a 4-3 victory via a three-run sixth. Wood’s knuckleball was working its magic: He struck out two and didn't issue a walk over eight innings and 94 pitches. Hoyt Wilhelm fanned one in the ninth to earn the save.

Thomas, Appling and Minoso delivered key two-out hits, with Minoso finishing 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Konerko, Thomas, Harold Baines and Appling joined Minoso with multi-hit efforts as the White Sox touched Cone for 13 hits over 7 1/3 innings.

Game 3: White Sox 7, Royals 4

Collins and Fox, the two greatest second basemen in franchise history, came through with key two-out hits off of Dan Quisenberry during a three-run ninth inning as the White Sox broke a 4-4 tie and took a 3-0 series lead. Collins’ two-run double came in a pinch-hitting role for Fisk on a 0-2 count and marked the Hall of Famer’s only at-bat in the five-game series.

Chris Sale struck out nine over six scoreless innings, but Bobby Jenks and Roberto Hernandez failed to protect a 4-0 advantage by allowing two runs each in the seventh and eighth innings. Minoso and Baines homered off Zack Greinke, who yielded four runs over eight frames.

Game 4: Royals 6, White Sox 1

Dennis Leonard was too much for Mark Buehrle and the White Sox as the Royals forced a fifth game in Kansas City. Leonard struck out three over 7 1/3 innings, with Chicago's only coming from Thomas’ first-inning homer. Buehrle allowed nine hits over 5 2/3 innings and allowed five runs (two earned). Fisk had three hits, half of the team's total.

Game 5: White Sox 5, Royals 0

Pierce closed out the opening series with eight scoreless innings, striking out four and scattering five singles for his second victory in the five games. Red Faber pitched a scoreless ninth to finish off the Royals.

Konerko connected for a three-run shot off of Saberhagen with nobody out during a four-run fifth. Thomas and Minoso had three hits apiece, and Robin Ventura added a 2-for-4 performance.