WARR baseball writer Kevin Luchansky writes about the Cubs and the White Sox weekly for WARR.com.
Also, check out Kevin’s daily baseball betting picks on NorthSideWire.
Winners of four of their last six, the Chicago White Sox are still not in an enviable position as they have the challenge of filling the offensive production gap from Jose Abreu’s absence, but they have the pieces to come together and pick up the slack collectively.
One of those pieces — playing particularly better lately after a rough start — is second baseman Gordon Beckham. Recently Beckham has started to carry his weight, batting .315 over the past two weeks while scoring nine times in 56 plate appearances.
Beckham’s season average currently sits at a respectable .275, his season totals in runs (9) and RBI (10) are not too impressive, but more than half of those totals have been collected in the past two weeks. Whether he is hitting in the two-hole or the bottom of the lineup, Beckham’s ability to get on base will be key for the offense while Abreu is still absent and Adam Eaton is just getting comfortable while back from injury.
Helping to plug some power into the lineup recently — and it couldn’t have come at a better time — is Adam Dunn. After his his walk-off home run to beat the Yankees Friday night, he’s now driven in nine RBIs and knocked three home runs in the past week.
Dunn has been doing himself a favor at the plate in being more selective with his swings. His walks are up a few percentage points, coupled with a drop in his strikeout percentage, and as a result he’s getting on base more, as is evident by his .399 on-base percentage. Dunn is even hitting for a much better average, which now sits at .248 thanks to his relatively hot streak. If he can keep up the current trends, the White Sox can stay afloat while they’re still ailing, and perhaps help fans forget about his abysmal 2013 campaign.
Gillaspie Working Well off DL
More like Beckham than Dunn, Conor Gillaspie is another guy that won’t be of much help in the power category, but he’s been seeing the ball very well after coming back recently from his own disabled list stint. Over the past two weeks, Gillaspie is hitting .357 and scored six times, raising his season average to .330. He has yet to leave the yard this season, but he has driven in 15 runs in just 29 games.
Sale Return Sparks Rotation
It looks as if Chris Sale’s short but strong appearances in the minors were no fluke, as the starter returned to form in his first appearance back in Chicago. In fact, Sale made Yankees hitters look silly Thursday night, retiring the first 17 batters he faced while striking out 10.
More importantly, Sale looked comfortable and the velocity and control seemed to be there for the left hander, who allowed one hit and didn’t walk a single batter. The Sox nearly squandered the lead but managed to shut the door, giving Sale his fourth victory of the season. A healthy Sale could really push the Sox over the hump as they seem to never fall too far below a .500 record or jump too far above it.
Of course, Sale can’t do it all alone. The rest of the staff has really been struggling, save for maybe Jose Quintana. Quintana has held his own over his last three starts, he was responsible for a win and two losses in that time, but managed to allow just a 3.93 ERA despite hitters getting the best of him with a .355 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). In other words, luck wasn’t exactly on his side, but he managed to keep his team in the game, relatively speaking. Two other starters, Hector Noesi and John Danks, both had less than memorable starts in their past two outings each, combining for an 0-4 record.
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