WARR baseball writer Kevin Luchansky writes about the Cubs and the White Sox each week
Also, check out Kevin’s daily baseball betting picks on NorthSideWire.
It seems the Chicago White Sox took last week’s post — in which I asked the team to decide on whether they are pretenders or contenders — pretty seriously.
The Sox won five of seven games for a stretch including home games against the Angels, Mariners and the beginning of their road trip to Boston — all solid competition. The impressive thing is, the team has gotten by on some nights with poor offense and great hitting, and on other nights, it was the reverse of that — a real overall team effort that culminated with a 44-48 overall record and puts the team in striking distance of the first place Tigers… for a time.
A four-game stretch to follow now has the team only at 45-51 with the All-Star Break now upon us, the Sox’ last effort was a 3-2 loss at Cleveland to finish a series win which they lost two of three. Three of the South Siders’ last four losses have been by one run.
In this current stretch, the White Sox have four hitters hitting above a .300 average and the few guys that are below that — namely Adam Eaton and Alexei Ramirez — are letting their gloves do the talking with outstanding defensive plays.
Gillaspie Adds Some Pop
One guy in particular that seems to be emerging onto the scene is third basemen Conor Gillaspie. Gillaspie, who went homer-less until July 1st, now has three on the season after adding two more in consecutive games Tuesday and Wednesday. Gillaspie has shown some signs of pop before, and honestly, the ball has never sounded better coming off his bat than it has lately. So, perhaps this is a sign of good things to come?
It would be great for Abreu’s plate appearances as well if Gillaspie provides some protection on nights Ventura sticks him in the middle of the order. The former first-round draft pick of the Giants is just 26 years old and seemingly has his best baseball ahead of him.
Abreu Shows Staying Power
Speaking of Abreu and pop, the Cuban slugger got back into the swing of things (though he’s never really quite cooled off) with three home runs this week, his season total of 29 puts him alone in the lead for home runs in the majors. In my opinion, Abreu would have put on a show if he had been named to the Home Run Derby team, but I understand putting Minnesota guy Brian Dozier in it in front of his home fans.
In addition to that, Abreu is dropping hits into the outfield and batting an impressive .333 over his last 25 plate appearances. It’s encouraging to see Abreu kick his average back up a notch after some pitchers have begun to adjust and pitch to him with the knowledge of past match-ups. After an injury-plagued May in which he batted just .241, Abreu finished the month of June with a .313 average. That’s a serious leap, and a sign he’s here to stay.
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