White Sox Must Take Advantage of Upcoming Schedule

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Jun 26, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox second baseman Brett Lawrie (15) and left fielder J.B. Shuck (20) celebrate after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox second baseman Brett Lawrie (15) and left fielder J.B. Shuck (20) celebrate after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports /
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White Sox will have the opportunity to get back into contention as they will face last place Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves over next 12 games

The White Sox were swept in Cleveland before the start of their series in Boston with a record at 33-36. After taking three of four games against the Red Sox, winning two of three games against the Toronto Blue Jays and improving to 38-38, the White Sox prepare for a relatively easier schedule over the next month.

With the team’s upcoming series against the lowly Minnesota Twins, the White Sox will only face two teams in the next month that are currently above .500. Those two teams are the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs.The White Sox have to take advantage of the opportunity that is in front of them in order to keep their recent momentum growing.

The Cleveland Indians are starting to run away with the AL Central division as they own a five game lead over the second place Kansas City Royals. The team could have a hard time getting back into the divisional race as they’re seven games behind Cleveland, but a solid month could propel the team into contention for one of the Wild Card spots in the American League.

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Although the White Sox will welcome the Twins to U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday, they can’t look past a team they’ve swept twice this season. The White Sox series against the Twins could become a classic trap series if they look past the last place team. If the White Sox can’t win its series against the Twins, they could have a hard time winning its next series.

The White Sox will face the Astros on the road this weekend. The Astros are currently 40-37, but they’ve been one of the hottest teams in the American League in June. Since starting the month at 28-30, the Astros have won 12 of its 19 games this month. The White Sox are sitting 2.5 games behind the Royals for the final Wild Card spot in the American League, but the Astros are ahead of the White Sox as they’re one game behind Kansas City.

A series victory over the Astros on the road could help with the team’s confidence heading into its final homestand before the All-Star break. The White Sox will host the New York Yankees beginning on July 4, and conclude the homestand and the first half of its season against the Atlanta Braves. The White Sox next 12 games will be important as they’re awaiting the debut of Justin Morneau.

Morneau, participated in batting practice at U.S. Cellular Field this past weekend and he’s expected to return shortly after the All-Star break according to csnchicago.com. The White Sox desperately need a consistent left-handed batter in its lineup, and a healthy Morneau could provide the team with a solid hitter. There aren’t many White Sox fans expecting Morneau to replicate his MVP form from 2006, but he could offer the team a better alternative than rotating designated hitters featuring J.B. Shuck, Jason Coats or Avisail Garcia.

The White Sox must also give their bullpen consistent rest, and they don’t have many internal options for a replacement if the injury bug strikes again. In order to have a successful stretch, the team will need long outings from its starting pitchers. The White Sox can’t afford to continue taxing an already tired bullpen with short outings from their starters, primarily the back-end of their rotation that includes James Shields and Miguel Gonzalez.

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This season, White Sox fans have seen good and bad moments from their favorite team. The White Sox still have an opportunity to turn its season around, and if they can’t take advantage of this opportunity, fans might have to get ready for a fire sale.

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