White Sox return to Central play after lengthy break
Chicago hadn't faced division foe since mid-May series in Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS -- After over a month playing outside of the American League Central, the White Sox returned to division play Tuesday against the Twins.
The last division series Chicago played in was at Target Field from May 13-15, where the club took two out of three from Minnesota to win the series.
"You get back here and they're familiar with you, you're familiar with them," Sox manager Robin Ventura said of facing the Twins.
Coming into the series, Chicago sat last in the division, 9 1/2 games out of first. The Twins were ahead of the White Sox by a 1 1/2-game margin. With just over a month-long break from division play, this series marks the first time the struggling White Sox have an opportunity to make up some quick ground in the standings.
While that may be on both the White Sox and Twins' minds, Ventura said he's just glad they're playing.
"You can have a mindset of you feel like you're chipping away, but right now we'd take anybody," Ventura said. "At the end, it's one of those that's in your division, which is nice, because it's immediate when you win and you can catch somebody."
On hitting, Ventura urges Viciedo to be patient
MINNEAPOLIS -- The White Sox quick turnaround from a series finale Monday in Houston to Tuesday's series opener at Target Field was made a little sweeter as Dayan Viciedo hit a three-run triple in the sixth inning Monday, which led to a 4-2 victory against the Astros.
The young left fielder has been inconsistent of late and is just 6-for-36 in his last 10 games. But the big triple Monday coupled with a triple Sunday was reassuring for the 24-year-old.
"It's always good team-wise when you get a big hit, but that one for him, I think, with how his last couple weeks have been going, it's a big one for him just to kind of get that going -- to do something meaningful," manager Robin Ventura said.
With Viciedo's .223 average and 37 hits in 166 at-bats, Ventura noted that working on hitting is difficult and that it is especially important to remind younger players that change isn't always immediate.
"I think with hitting, you have to be able to kind of stick with it, even though it might not be immediate feedback from one at-bat to another," Ventura said. "It's a process. Over the course of the year, you know what's best for him. He has to be able to buy into that. He has to be able to see that.
"You have to buy into in your mind to be able to succeed at it. That's part of being young and battling and getting through this all at the same time. It's easier said than done."
Ventura also said Viciedo has a high ceiling and time to grow.
"I think what you're looking at right now, that's not indicative of his talent," Ventura said. "Again, you just continue to understand he is young and it's getting better."
• The White Sox are 5-14 since hitting the .500 mark May 26.
• Right-hander Jesse Crain has made 27 straight scoreless appearances, tying a franchise record. Over those 27 scoreless outings, he has pitched 27 innings and given up 17 hits. He lowered his ERA from 3.86 to 0.57, which is second in Major League relievers, behind Colorado's Rex Brothers (0.30).
Kelly Erickson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.