After a disappointing start to a big weekend series in Detroit, White Sox fans are near the edge of their seats preparing to hit the panic button. Fans may want to take a small step back though and release their death grip on the kill switch. Yes, it would of been great to sweep the Tigers or at least take two out of three this weekend, but there is still a lot of baseball left. If the Sox can salvage tonight's game, they leave Detroit with a two game lead after going 2-5 on the road trip. Not a bad scenario. The biggest concern for the Sox will be health and fatigue down the stretch.
The Sox have 26 games reaming after tonight's finale with the Detroit Tigers. They will face the Twins for 6 games, the Royals for 6 games, the Tigers for 4 games, the Rays for 4 games, the Angels for 3 games, and the Indians for 3 games. In that time span, the Sox only have 2 off days for travel. The Sox are going to need to pick spots to rest certain individuals, so they have something left in the tank for the last week of September and if they make it in October. Despite that pitching Coach Don Cooper said there is no plan to give Sale extra rest, I would like to see him and Quintana get one more break in September. Sale is the White Sox best starter and is at 157.0 innings pitched. Keeping Sale's arm fresh needs to be the main concern. Quintana in his last 3 starts looks to be hitting a wall. He's in uncharted territory with 113.2 innings pitched. With expanded September call ups, the Sox should look to spot start either Dylan Axelrod, Hector Santiago, or Philip Humber for Sale or Quintana down the stretch.
From a offensive standpoint there our concerns as well. Adam Dunn has a strained oblique which he says isn't serious. Dunn rushed back last season from a appendectomy and had a terrible season. Making sure Dunn is healthy is key for the stretch run. He needs to take the necessary to time to heal up to avoid tearing a oblique and being done for the year. Alex Rios batting average is under .300 for the first time since in May. Rios has played in 129 games this season. He has been solid at the plate and in right field. The Sox can't afford a drop in production from him. Dayan Viciedo is playing his first full season on the Major League roster. Fatigue could be a issue with him, but I'm confident with Jordan Danks and DeWayne Wise on the roster he will remain fresh. A big boast for the Sox is the return of Alejandro De Aza. De Aza has been out with a rib strain, but will return prior to Sunday's game. He has been a catalyst at the top of the order and could bring a spark to the Sox lineup.
So even if the Sox lose tonight, there is still a long road ahead. The Sox will need to play better against Kansas City and Detroit if they hope to win the American League Central Division. The only way they can do that though is by having a healthy and productive team. The importance of keeping guys rested will help the Sox make that push. So as long as were healthy were in it. Sox fans, I know it's tough, but don't jump of that ledge just yet.
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