White Sox-Rockies Preview
Though it's uncertain if the Chicago White Sox have the makings of a serious postseason contender, they at least appear poised to improve on their poor offensive showing from last season.
They'll look to build on their highest-scoring road game in over three years in Wednesday's finale against the Colorado Rockies.
Chicago (4-4) ranked near the bottom of the majors averaging 3.7 runs and batting .249 while losing 99 games in 2013. Though the White Sox remain a work in progress, they're batting .290 while scoring 50 runs eight games into this season.
The bulk of those runs came Tuesday when Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia each hit two of Chicago's six homers during a 15-3 rout that evened the series with Colorado (4-5). Abreu drove in five runs and Garcia and Marcus Semien each had four hits as the White Sox pounded out 19 in their highest-scoring road contest since opening the 2011 season with a 15-10 victory at Cleveland.
Abreu, the Cuban slugger who signed a $68 million, six-year contract in October, entered the contest 6 for 27 with no homers in his first seven major-league games.
"That's everything as advertised for him," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Doesn't necessarily surprise us. I know he's happy, to kind of get (that first home run) out of the way."
Abreu didn't seem too concerned with his rough first week.
''Like I always say, we should never press for things,'' he said. ''I always give myself some time. You have time to do things."
Garcia was 4 for 24 (.167) with no home runs, one RBI and six strikeouts in his first six this season before breaking out Tuesday.
After Jose Quintana gave the White Sox seven solid innings, Erik Johnson (0-1, 13.50) takes the ball looking to bounce back after he allowed seven runs, 10 hits and three walks in 4 2-3 innings of a 7-5 loss at Kansas City on Friday.
"The biggest thing is that I've got to compete better for my team," said Johnson, who is 3-3 with a 4.73 ERA as a starter since making his major-league debut in September.
This will be the right-hander's first interleague appearance.
Colorado, meanwhile, hopes for another strong outing from Juan Nicasio (1-0, 1.29 ERA), who allowed a solo homer, three other hits and one walk while striking out six in seven innings of a 12-2 home win over Arizona on Friday. It was a big boost for Nicasio, who posted a 20.25 ERA while losing his final three home starts of 2013.
"I feel comfortable," he told the Rockies' official website. "This is my house. I feel good pitching here in Denver."
The right-hander is 2-3 with a 5.93 ERA in eight interleague starts, but has never faced the White Sox.
Colorado's Michael Cuddyer had two hits and homered for the third time this season Tuesday. Last season's NL batting champ with a .331 average, Cuddyer is hitting .432 (16 for 37) with eight RBIs in 2014.
Cuddyer's former Minnesota teammate Justin Morneau also had two hits and is batting .345 (10 for 29) in his first season with Colorado.