They would have preferred to play better. They always do.
But when the White Sox wake up at home on Thursday morning, they can do so satisfied they played above-.500 baseball during a stretch where 16 of their 19 games were on the road.
Included in the teams first 19 games out of the All-Star break were four contests at Boston, three at Detroit and three in Texas. Not to mention a five-game losing streak. Though they spent most of the previous three weeks living out of their suitcases, the White Sox went 10-9 and find themselves in nearly the same position they were in when they broke for the All-Star Game.
The White Sox -- who open a nine-game homestand against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday -- maintained a 2 1 2-game lead over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday. They led the Tigers by three games on July 13.
Thats a tough stretch, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. You come back off the All-Star break and most of them are on the road. You were home for a couple of days at most. You know, its tough. Its not easy. You go out on the road and tough teams, and you kind of held your own. Now, its time to go home and win some games.
The White Sox home record isnt any better than how they play away from U.S. Cellular. The team is five games above .500 at home (27-22) and on the road (30-25). Of late, however, the Sox have won eight of their last nine home games.
Its going to be nice to go back at home and play in front of our home fans and be in our own beds, closer Addison Reed said. Its fun playing anywhere, its just a little nicer playing at home.
Larger crowds -- perhaps boosted by the June 24 acquisition of Kevin Youkilis --may have improved the home cooking even more.
In their last home series, a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins last week, the White Sox drew three straight 30,000-plus crowds, including two sellouts. It was the teams largest three-day total since the Cubs visited from June 20-22, 2011.
Thats a big boost for us, Ventura said.
It might give us an advantage, outfielder Alex Rios said.
Any advantage would be OK with the White Sox, who expect a dogfight with the Tigers to extend into early October. The team has added reliever Brett Myers and starting pitcher Francisco Liriano in the last 10 days in what is expected to give the pitching staff a veteran boost. The two should allow the White Sox to rely less on younger pitchers and afford rest time for first-year starters Chris Sale and Jose Quinanta.
But the big key for the team is consistency, pitcher Jake Peavy said.
Youre going to ride your good and bad streaks, but you want to be consistent from here on out, Peavy said. Love the moves Kenny (Williams) has made. Were going to regroup and have a few off days in the next few weeks.
"Were excited about the off day, to take care of business. Those off days help so we can keep running our regular guys out there and it helps pitching wise, to give Sale some extra rest and not abuse guys. Would have liked to play better in Detroit and Boston. But you see the resiliency and attitude of this team.