A punchless offense has been a problem all season for the Chicago White Sox. The last three games, though, have provided a small glimmer of hope.
The White Sox hope to build on one of their best offensive efforts of the season Tuesday night when they continue a three-game series against the Florida Marlins at U.S. Cellular Field.
Jim Thome hit a three-run homer and the White Sox matched a season high for runs in a 10-6 victory in Monday’s series opener.
The White Sox still rank last in the majors with a .235 batting average and 264 runs, but have hit .330 (34-for-103) and scored 23 runs in their last three games.
That improved offense needs to continue if fourth-place Chicago is to make a run in the deep AL Central.
General manager Ken Williams said before Monday’s game that he has no immediate plans to break up the team with trades in the wake of a miserable slide.
“We’re not giving up,” Williams said. “I can’t recall a stretch, at least within the last seven years, that we’ve played this poorly. And I’m comfortable that the players are continuing to fight. I think we can stand behind them as long as it makes sense to stand behind them.”
The White Sox could be close to getting a key piece back in the lineup.
Scott Podsednik, who hasn’t played since April 15 due to a strained abductor muscle, could rejoin the team as early as Monday when his minor league rehab assignment ends. Podsednik would give the White Sox a base-stealing threat at the top of the lineup they have lacked all season.
“Obviously, we’re going to have to bring him up and have some answers by then,” Williams said on the team’s official Web site. “He’s been playing very well, actually, and from what I understand, also has been playing well in the outfield.”
Right fielder Jermaine Dye made two diving, outstretched catches Monday. He had to leave the game as a precautionary measure in the fourth inning with a strained right quadriceps, but hopes to play Tuesday.
“Two great ones. That was the fuel of the game,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “He saved a couple of runs. Maybe the game would have gone a different way.”
John Danks (3-6, 4.34 ERA) hopes to get back into the win column for Chicago. The left-hander is 0-2 with a 5.81 ERA in his past four starts after winning his previous three appearances. He needed 103 pitches to get through 4 2-3 innings Thursday at Philadelphia and allowed two runs, five hits and three walks.
Danks has pitched past the fifth inning only once in his last four starts after lasting six or more in each of his previous five outings. He’s never faced the Marlins.
Florida (33-38), which has lost seven of nine, has matched a season low by falling five games under .500.
The Marlins have also lost seven of their last nine interleague contests.
Dontrelle Willis (7-6, 4.58) looks to avoid losing his fourth straight start. The left-hander hasn’t pitched badly despite losing his last three outings, allowing eight earned runs and 23 hits in 20 innings for a 3.60 ERA. His teammates, however, have supported him with only three runs in those games.
Willis limited Cleveland to two runs and eight hits over seven innings Thursday in a 3-2 defeat at home.
Willis, who has never faced the White Sox, is 1-2 with a 3.43 ERA in three interleague starts this season.