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White Sox have done just about everything right offensively so far

THIS YEAR AND LAST — WHITE SOX THROUGH APRIL

Year Avg. AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO OBP SLG OPS

2014 .269 1,023 154 275 58 6 32 144 94 254 .333 .431 .764

2013 .227 919 97 209 36 2 34 92 64 235 .280 .382 .662

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Updated: June 3, 2014 6:28AM



CLEVELAND — And on the first day of May, the White Sox rested.

Man, did they need it. All of
that swinging in April can wear a team out.

The Sox were second in the
majors (to the Colorado Rockies) in runs scored in April, which is
beyond remarkable considering they were second-to-last (ahead of only the Miami Marlins) last April.

What a difference Jose Abreu makes. And Adam Eaton. And a rejuvenated Alexei Ramirez, a more patient Dayan Viciedo, Adam Dunn batting .269 instead of .200 and the singles machine that is
Tyler Flowers.

The Sox rank second in the
majors in doubles, third in batting average and slugging percentage, fourth in OPS and fifth in home runs. All in a good month’s work.

Not that the Sox, who went 14-15 in April, are satisfied.

‘‘It’s all well and good,’’ first-year hitting coach Todd Steverson said. ‘‘But the mark of a good hitter or a good-hitting club is consistency. Anybody can have a good month. Let’s maintain that consistency throughout a full season.’’

Executive vice president Ken Williams credits general manager Rick Hahn for finding and hiring Steverson away from the Oakland Athletics’ system last offseason. Steverson didn’t reinvent the principles of hitting or rewrite the book on how to coach it, but his simple approach is resonating with Sox hitters.

‘‘[Steverson] speaks a different language from other instructors we’ve had in the past,’’ said Flowers, who batted .354 with 26 singles and only three extra-base hits in April, a stunning figure considering he batted .195 and .213 the last two seasons. ‘‘And that’s no knock against those guys. He just says stuff a little bit differently, and it seems like that’s relating to a lot of us a little bit more than in years past.’’

Williams always has liked the lingo of players who grind, fight and scrap in the batter’s box, which is why he loved Eaton beating the relay to prevent a double play and Marcus Semien drawing a difficult walk as much as he did Abreu’s walk-off grand slam that followed those key at-bats Friday against Tampa Bay Rays closer Grant Balfour.

‘‘Todd Steverson is demanding everyone compete from at-bat to at-bat,’’ Williams said. ‘‘I can’t
remember a time where I’ve seen a team from at-bat to at-bat compete like this. You get 27 outs in a game. If each guy wastes one at-bat, it’s hard to win that ballgame. But Todd is one intense dude, and he’s serious about attacking that baseball and attacking it the right way.’’

It was an April (and March 31) to remember:

† Abreu led the majors with a rookie-record 10 homers and 32 RBI and led the American League with a .617 slugging percentage and 18 extra-base hits. He fell two RBI short of the April record of 34, set by the Cubs’ Mandy Brooks in 1925.

† Ramirez (.351) and Viciedo (.348) ranked first and second in the AL in batting average. Ramirez had 40 hits to break Paul Konerko’s club record for April, and he and Buck Weaver in 1920 are the only Sox to hit safely in 27 of the team’s first 29 games. Viciedo, who walked a combined 52 times in 2012 and 2013, already has drawn 10 walks and leads the Sox with a .410 on-base percentage.

† Dunn has five homers and 12 RBI and has been on base in 21 of his last 23 games. His .402 on-base percentage is second on the Sox.

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @CST_soxvan



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