DETROIT — The White Sox offense continues to struggle even as the lineup features more balance than it has had all season.
With 57 runs scored in 19 games since the All-Star break, including one or fewer eight times, manager Robin Ventura intends to move hitters around. He began to experiment with his lineup on Thursday when Adam Eaton batted third for the first time in his career.
“You’re trying to mix it up and find something that feels a little bit different, but they still feel confident in being able to score runs and do some things, maybe run a little bit freer running game and let them go,” Ventura said.
At this point the White Sox are desperate for anything to go right. Once a .500 club, the White Sox are in a free fall having lost six of their last seven games. A team that started with a 23-10 record now sits at a season-low five games under .500.
The offense’s issues have been at the heart of the team’s struggles. Even with the addition of Justin Morneau, who gives them a consistent left-handed bat in the middle, the White Sox haven’t hit. The team is averaging 3.97 runs per game on the season, just a tick up from 2015 when they averaged 3.83.
Part of their recent drop off is the continued struggles of first baseman Jose Abreu. Though he still has an OPS-plus of 103 (100 is average), Abreu hasn’t been the force the White Sox have come to know the previous two seasons. He’s third on the team with 11 home runs, not having hit one since June 23 in Boston. Since the All-Star break, Abreu is hitting .254/.324/.328 with four RBIs in 74 plate appearances.
Eaton is hitting .272/.359/.408 on the season with eight homers and 37 RBIs.
“He fancies himself a three-hole hitter, so I think especially the way the offense has been going, you try to mix it up enough to see if something clicks with them,” Ventura said. “The way he swings, he’s hitting a couple more homers than usual, and I think it’s a good spot for him.”
“He has been such a good leadoff hitter and two-hole, that you know that’s a good spot for him. But right now, I think he can drive in some runs too.”