The White Sox head out West to take on a pair of Los Angeles teams, and Jen Lada and Bill Melton are getting you ready with this week's White Sox Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda Dealers.
Jose Abreu is expected back in the lineup when the White Sox take their offense to the West Coast on Monday, and it should be a boon for a group that has struggled of late without their best hitter.
Abreu has been out since May 17 with a sprained ankle, and in that time the White Sox have averaged just 3.4 runs per game, including just 12 runs in their last five games. Robin Ventura's group did manage to go 8-6 in that span, but there's no denying Abreu's bat will be of major importance when they take on the Los Angeles Dodgers, beginning tomorrow.
"He's your best hitter in your lineup. You put him right in the middle and the other guys kind of relax and work around him," Bill Melton said. "If he was ready to go he might hit a two- or three-run home run, that relaxes the whole ball club, that's your whole offense. There's always a centerpiece to an offense...I'd rather see Abreu have those chances even if he fails."
In 44 games Abreu is hitting .260 with 15 home runs and 42 RBIs. But as good as Abreu has been, it may not matter against Clayton Kershaw, Monday's starter for the Dodgers. The reigning Cy Young winner in the National League hasn't been untouchable this season (3-2, 3.57 ERA) but he'll be as talented a pitcher as Abreu has seen in his young MLB career.
"I just think Kershaw's that good of a pitcher and I think Abreu knows that," Melton said. "If he goes 0-4 and strikes out three times, you can't take anything away when you've got a guy like that on the mound. I'm gonna look for a progression in the six games."
Melton said Abreu continuing to work his way back into the lineup on the road trip (three against the Dodgers and three more against the Angels) will be important for when the White Sox come home to take on the Tigers for the second time this year.