CHICAGO -- When the Detroit Tigers visited the White Sox a couple of weeks ago, manager Jim Leyland raved about the South Siders' overall talent and basically was at a loss for words as to why the team wasn't considered by pundits as an American League Central contender.
Cleveland manager Manny Acta shared the same sentiment following Friday's 9-3 loss to the White Sox, pointing out there's more to this division than his squad and the highly-touted Tigers.
"We're not ignoring them. We know they have a very good team," said Acta of the second-place White Sox. "The three years that I've been in this division, I feel like they have the deepest pitching staff -- probably the best pitching staff overall.
"Pitching is a big part of the game. They do have a very good ballclub. Our division is balanced. I have never taken them for granted. They have the team to win, just like the rest of the division."
The rest of the division might be a bit of a stretch by Acta, with the Twins and Royals not looking to be viable contenders. But the White Sox have pushed their way into that picture, at least through 47 games.
Ask Robin Ventura about the praise from other managers and he smiles and takes it all in. But he isn't worried about the thought process anywhere outside of the White Sox clubhouse.
"It doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter," said Ventura, when made aware Saturday of Acta's compliment. "I mean, we respect everybody in our league. We are focused more on what we are doing. Guys pay attention, but you still have to continue to keep that focus there."