If you dig the long ball, here's some potentially unexpected drama for the final few weeks of the season.
The White Sox have an outside chance at boasting six members of the 20-homer club before time runs out on the 2018 campaign. And those six guys are all within six homers of each other.
With 18 left, will the White Sox reach a half dozen 20-homer seasons? And who will end up the team leader in dingers?
Daniel Palka is a name you wouldn't have picked for 2018 home run leader on Opening Day, mostly because he wasn't on the roster then, but his two-run blast in the third inning of Monday night's game against the Kansas City Royals was his 22nd dinger of the season, tying him with Jose Abreu for the team lead.
Abreu returned from the disabled list Monday and has to hit three more before season's end to make it a fifth straight campaign with at least 25 homers.
Also in the mix is Matt Davidson, he of the three-homer game on Opening Day in Kansas City. Davidson trails Palka and Abreu by just a pair of round-trippers with 20 on the season.
But the chase for six 20-homer seasons is perhaps more interesting, if only because it's even more surprising, what with the White Sox ranking in the bottom third in the game in runs scored. In addition to the three guys already there, Tim Anderson is two away at 18, Yoan Moncada three away at 17 and Avisail Garcia four away at 16.
Home run items of interest
- Shockingly, considering the win-now mode the White Sox were in prior to Rick Hahn launching the current rebuilding effort ahead of last season, should just one more player reach 20 homers, it'd make for the highest number of 20-homer White Sox since 2012, the last year the team reached the postseason. Abreu and Davidson were the only 20-homer guys in 2017, Abreu and Todd Frazier the only two in 2016, Abreu the only one in 2015, Abreu joining Adam Dunn and Dayan Viciedo in 2014, Dunn the lone achiever in 2013. In 2012, Dunn, Viciedo, Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski and Alex Rios all hit at least 25 home runs.
- The fact that Abreu is even in position to make it five straight 25-homer seasons is impressive considering the extended slump he went through earlier in the year, when he hit just four homers over his final 45 games leading into the All-Star break. He also missed the last three weeks while recovering from surgery to relieve testicular torsion.
- Garcia, who had a breakout, All-Star campaign a season ago, is only two away from matching his 2017 total of 18 homers. In general, his 2018 season has been a disappointing follow-up, mostly because of persistent injuries. But the home-run numbers everyone was hoping to see last season could end up being bigger this time around in a little more than half the games.
- This one from NBC Sports Chicago stat pooh bah Chris Kamka: Palka's 22 home runs this season average a distance of 411 feet, a launch angle of 26 degrees and an exit velocity of 108.6 miles an hour. Dude can swing it. What a find by Hahn's front office that could have a lasting impact as the rebuild moves along.
- Anderson set a new career best with his 18th home run. He's also got career highs in doubles, RBIs, stolen bases and walks with 18 games to go.