Home runs are playing a major role for the Chicago White Sox. They’ve become even more important during a season-high three-game winning streak.
The White Sox look for a more balanced offensive showing Tuesday night when they open a three-game series against the Texas Rangers.
Chicago (8-11) owns one of the worst batting averages in the majors at .222, but the club’s 26 homers rank among baseball’s leaders. The White Sox lead the AL with 871 homers since winning the 2005 World Series. Of their 74 runs this season, half (37) have been scored on home runs - the highest such ratio in the AL.
That reliance on the long ball was fully evident during their three-game weekend sweep of Seattle. They hit seven homers during in the series, including game-ending shots in the first two games. Paul Konerko’s(notes) solo home run in the eighth secured Sunday’s 3-2 win.
Chicago won despite going 4 for 23 with runners in scoring position in the three games against the Mariners, including an 0-for-10 performance Sunday.
“Our mind-set has to be 3-2, 2-1 games that you have to manufacture runs and string together hits,” Konerko told the team’s official website. “If you have a team that does that, you are a tough team to beat, instead of just being all or nothing with home runs.
“That’s how we’re going to sustain long stretches of games of being good, because you can’t hit homers every night. We’re trying, but we need to keep working. We’re not where we want to be as an offense yet.”
Konerko has been a major contributor to Chicago’s power surge, leading the majors with eight homers including one in each game of the Seattle series. The veteran first baseman is 6 for 13 over his last four contests, raising his batting average 45 points to .290.
A better effort from opening-day starter Mark Buehrle(notes) (2-2, 4.56 ERA) could help Chicago win four in a row for the first time since Sept. 2-5. The left-hander has lost his last two starts while surrendering 12 runs and 15 hits in 10 2-3 innings.
Facing the Rangers (8-11) could be just what Buehrle needs to rebound. He’s 11-3 with a 2.74 ERA in 14 career starts against them, and has compiled a 1.61 ERA while winning the last three.
The White Sox dropped four of six to Texas last season, hitting .207 with one homer.
The Rangers are producing at the plate, but had to settle for a split of their four-game series with Detroit after falling 8-6 on Monday. Texas hit .311 over the last three games against the Tigers, but dropped two of them as their starting rotation posted a 7.88 ERA.
“Sooner or later, we’re going to find a way to put everything on the same page, offense, pitching and defense,” said third baseman Michael Young(notes), who went 7 for 16 with six RBIs in the Detroit series.
The Rangers’ C.J. Wilson(notes) (1-1, 1.37) looks for another strong effort on the mound. He scattered four hits in 6 2-3 innings to earn his first win as a starter in Thursday’s 3-0 victory at Boston. The left-hander entered the rotation this year after spending the previous five seasons as a reliever.
He’s 1-0 with a 3.65 ERA in 10 relief outings against the White Sox.