4/21/2014 7:29 P.M. ET
Approach helping offense get out of the gates strong
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
DETROIT -- The 16 runs scored by the White Sox in Sunday's victory over the Rangers ended a stretch of five games where the South Siders scored just 10 runs. Yet, the reshaped and rejuvenated offense continues to thrive.
Going into Monday's series opener against the Tigers, the White Sox topped the Majors with 5.58 runs per game. They stand first in the American League with a .759 OPS and second in average (.268), slugging percentage (.425), home runs (23) and on-base percentage (.334).
By comparison, the White Sox ranked last in the AL last season in runs scored, 14th in on-base percentage and 13th in slugging percentage. New hitting coach Todd Steverson's message of selective aggressiveness clearly is taking hold.
"I feel like he helps a lot," said White Sox right fielder Dayan Viciedo, through interpreter and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz. "He also definitely connects with us and he likes to talk about the hitting part of it, which is very helpful for us to talk about things. He's definitely doing a good job."
"You add [Adam] Eaton and [Jose] Abreu in there, and [Marcus] Semien has been here since the start," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "A lot of guys are deeper into counts than they were last year. We still have some free swingers that swing early, but for the most part, you're grinding out at-bats. Just tougher at-bats, and I think that leads to some walks in some key spots and some bigger hits."
Patience helping Viciedo thrive at the plate
DETROIT -- Dayan Viciedo not only is at his best when he is driving the ball to right and right-center, but that direction stands as the natural source of power from his swing.
So if going the other way stands as the beneficial norm for the right-handed-hitting Viciedo, what has been different in regard to his success, as seen in this season's .321 average entering Monday's series opener in Detroit? One key factor is that Viciedo has been more controlled at the plate, chasing fewer offspeed pitches on the outer half.
"One, I'm becoming more patient. And two, it's that I've seen it a lot," said Viciedo through interpreter and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz. "Now, I can recognize it early and lay off of them."
Viciedo already has drawn five walks in 53 at-bats this season, compared to 24 walks in 441 at-bats during 2013. There's no question he has exhibited greater plate discipline.
He has also received everyday playing time in right field because of Avisail Garcia's season-ending shoulder injury and run with the chance, moving from a left-field platoon with Alejandro De Aza at the season's outset. Viciedo is 10-for-27 with five RBIs over seven games since becoming the White Sox primary right fielder.
"Yes, I feel comfortable there even though I haven't played there," said Viciedo of right field. "I've been taking fly balls there and just continue to practice there. When a fellow teammate gets hurt, it's something that you don't want to happen so you get an opportunity. I don't want to take it like that. But I take it as I got a chance to play and prove what I can do."
"Once the injury happened to Avi, he fell right into playing," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "When something bad happens, something good happens to somebody else. He's getting an opportunity to play."
Eaton antsy to get back in White Sox lineup
DETROIT -- One thing is certain regarding Adam Eaton's mild strain in the lower part of his left hamstring: the White Sox leadoff man will not have the final say on when he returns.
But Eaton, who missed Sunday and Monday with the injury that forced him to depart after the top of the fifth inning Saturday, will test the problem on Tuesday to see where he stands.
"We are going to see how it feels and if it feels good, we'll give it a go tomorrow," Eaton said. "So, we are going to take today and rest completely. Not even throw spikes on unfortunately.
"Take a full day and tomorrow get out there on the field and test it and, like I said, hopefully be ready to go tomorrow. If not, then the day after. Hopefully, be truthful with it tomorrow and make sure we're ready to go."
Eaton doesn't see any scenario in which he would end up on the disabled list because of this injury, but he is eager to return. When asked how he felt sitting on the bench during the club's 16-run outburst Sunday, Eaton smiled and replied, "What do you think?"
"It's been terrible. I hate it. Especially a game like yesterday," Eaton continued. "I told these guys, it's about time we got the scrappy leadoff hitter out of there, so you guys can just rake."
The biggest issue for Eaton is getting into fourth or fifth gear when running. White Sox manager Robin Ventura originally thought Eaton would be out of action for at least three days, so even if he tests well Tuesday, Wednesday could be his earliest return.
"We'll be very cautious with him because he's kind of a maniac when he runs around, so you have to be careful," Ventura said. "I did explain that to him that because of his personality, we can talk about it, but we're not going to go by everything he says, in a good way, not a bad way."
Third to first
• The 16 runs scored by the White Sox on Sunday mark the most on the road against the Rangers/Senators and their most on the road since May 25, 2009, when they scored 17 at the Angels.
• The date of April 21 marks the two-year anniversary of Philip Humber's perfect game. It was the 21st perfect game in Major League history, with Humber striking out nine in a 4-0 victory over Seattle. Humber's 96 pitches allowed him to join Mark Buehrle (2009) and Charlie Robertson (1922) as the only pitchers in franchise history to throw perfect games.
"That's still probably the greatest day of baseball I've been a part of," White Sox left-hander Chris Sale said.
• Marcus Semien became the first rookie in White Sox history to have a pair of four-hit games during the month of April, according to Elias Sports Bureau.