The Chicago White Sox's offense was always going to be a work in progress, even if the team was healthy, so there is no surprise with the current ebbs and flows since key players on the disabled list.
In fact, the idea that the White Sox can still deliver healthy offensive eruptions, like they did while scoring nine runs against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, is impressive. That offense was shut down the rest of the weekend, though, as it combined to score four runs over the past two games.
Things only figure to get tougher this week as the White Sox travel to Oakland, traditionally a place of struggles, and they go up against the pitching staff with the best ERA in the American League at 2.91.
The A's also have the second-best team batting average in baseball at .254, trailing only the White Sox's .264 mark. The White Sox are also fourth in the AL with a .746 OPS, while Oakland is fifth at .738.
The common thread running between the two offenses is Todd Steverson, the current White Sox hitting coach, who spent the past 10 seasons as an A's coach, and the last two as the organization's minor league roving hitting instructor.
The White Sox's offensive turnaround this season is nothing short of remarkable. And while the arrival of Jose Abreu gets most of the credit for the new-found ability to score runs, Steverson's input should not be overlooked.
A season ago, the White Sox were last in the AL in runs scored (598). This year they are first at 197 and are on pace to score a whopping 818, a full 220 more than last season. A year ago, 818 runs would have second-best in the AL to Boston's 853.
HEAD TO HEAD
Alexei Ramirez is 3-for-5 with three RBIs against A's starter Jesse Chavez. ... Would the White Sox be tempted to use Paul Konerko in the lineup against the right-handed Chavez? Konerko is 4-for-4 in his career against Chavez, while Dunn is 0-for-2. ... Alejandro De Aza, Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo are a combined 1-for-17 (.059) against A's lefty Tommy Milone. ... Members of the current Oakland roster have a combined 97 at-bats against White Sox starter John Danks with no home runs and only four extra-base hits. ... White Sox starters Scott Carroll and Andre Rienzo have never faced the A's.
Danks is 6-1 in his career against the A's with a 2.12 ERA over eight starts. He is 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA in two career starts at Oakland. ... The White Sox went 2-5 against the A's last season, including an 0-3 mark at Oakland. ... All seven games between the teams last season were decided by three runs or less, while the White Sox's pitching staff had a 2.87 ERA. ... The White Sox are just 19-41 at Oakland since 2000 and 9-12 since 2008. ... Konerko needs three RBIs for 1,400 in his career. ... Monday night's game opens the first of three three-city road trips this season. The White Sox also travel to Houston and Kansas City for the current nine-game trip that will take place over 10 days.
Monday: White Sox LH John Danks (3-2, 4.93 ERA) vs. A's RH Jesse Chavez (2-1, 2.47), 9:05 p.m. CST
Tuesday: White Sox RH Scott Carroll (1-2, 3.63) vs. A's LH Drew Pomeranz (2-1, 1.45), 9:05 p.m. CST
Wednesday: White Sox RH Andre Rienzo (3-0, 5.46) vs. A's LH Tommy Milone (1-3, 4.54), 2:35 p.m. CST