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Streaking & Slumping: A Unique Recipe for Success

Last week, we finally had some positives on our 'streaking & slumping' list. And after another week of White Sox baseball, though the players' numbers aren't as good individually, the Sox did win five of their seven ball games.

Let's take a look at who was hot and who was not throughout the last week of south side baseball (stats cover games from May 21-May 27).


Streaking

Conor Gillaspie: Though he has continued to not do anything overwhelming at the plate, spring pickup Conor Gillaspie has still been the consistent contact hitter he's been since the first week of the season.

This past week, Gillaspie played in five of the team's seven games (sat the first two games of the Boston series with lefties on the mound), going 6-for-17 (.353) with one double, one walk, and one run driven in (of the walk off variety) … all without striking out once.

Though Alexei Ramirez has been pretty good in the number two hole for the team of late, it looks like that's the perfect spot for Gillaspie to hit. Unfortunately, Alejandro De Aza and Adam Dunn are both up near that part of the batting order, so it's unlikely that Robin Ventura will move Conor there and have all three of his lefties bunched together in the lineup.

It appears that Gillaspie will continue to be the every day third baseman while sitting many of the days the team faces lefty starters.

He's now hitting .292 on the season despite being shuffled around in the order and getting used to being an everyday MLB starter for the first time in his career.

Paul Konerko: Yes, that's right, it finally looks like our captain is ready to hit like the consistent force we've had in our lineup for over a decade.

Paulie went 7-for-20 this week (.350) while mixing in one home run (his first of May) and four walks without striking out once (you're seeing this pattern, right?). While his prime run-producing days may have officially passed him by, it still looks like if he can keep this streak going, he'll be very valuable to the Sox going forward.

Of course, he's still only hitting .235 on the season with just ten XBH's, so he's going to need to continue the pace we've seen this past week for a while to get him to where he's used to being statistically.

Jeff Keppinger: Rounding out the hitters on this half of the list, we have yet another contact, singles hitter in Jeff Keppinger making a rare appearance.

Finally looking much more like himself, 'Kepp' went 6-for-20 (.300) while playing each of the past six games to raise his average to to .211 …

This week included one extra base hit for Keppinger, but he made it count by smashing his first home run of the season in a crucial spot to help the Sox win the second game of the Boston series. He did strike out twice without walking once, so it's worth noting that he isn't too far off of reverting to his early-season ways.

And with Gordon Beckham coming back soon (fingers crossed), he better keep hitting at a high clip if he wants to continue to recieve consistent playing time.

Righty Relievers: Like last week, the bullpen has not been great all around, but the back end has still done a phenomenal job: namely Jesse Crain, Matt Lindstrom, and Addison Reed.

After going through some struggles, Lindstrom is starting to quickly gain back the coaching staff's trust as a viable late-inning option. This past week he's appeared in three games, thrown 2.2 innings, and though he's let up three hits and two walks, he hasn't let any runners cross the plate.

Jesse Crain, on the other hand, has continued to set up for the ninth inning about as well as you can. He also made three appearances totaling 2.2 innings but only let up one base hit while fanning six hitters. His season ERA is now down to a mesmerizing 0.78 through 26 appearances.


Slumping

Nate Jones: Like we just mentioned, the bullpen hasn't been to consistent, at least not from top to bottom. One of the guys struggling the most is second year fireballer Nate Jones, who tossed 2.2 innings (three appearances) while letting up five earned runs.

Jones' (1-4) ERA on the season now stands at 7.04 as there have been rumblings that he may be sent down to AAA in the near future. While Don Cooper still sees a long future for him in the team's 'pen, it just may be that he needs to get some things straightened out before he can be effective at the MLB level once again.

One of his biggest problems has been the control, which was extremely good last year. Through his 23 innings pitched, he's already walked 12 hitters and let up 24 base hits … those numbers are just way too high for a late-inning set-up man.

Alejandro De Aza: Obviously, it's been nice to see the power out of Alejandro De Aza this season. He's hit seven home runs, ten doubles, and driven in 20 runs. But you can't let that make you forget that he's in the leadoff spot to be the team's tablesetter.

So far, De Aza has 54 strikeouts on the season, as he's on pace for about 175 of them this year. That number, especially for a leadoff man, is way too high.

In fact, Luke recently suggested to me that Ventura move him down in the lineup, at least until he gets back to his more consistent ways. When he looks like he did this past week (4-for-22, six strikeouts), he simply doesn't suffice as the first guy to the plate for the White Sox.

Dayan Viciedo: After coming back from the disabled list on an absolute tear, Dayan 'The Tank' Viciedo has cooled off big time throughout the team's last few series.

In his last six ball games, Viciedo is hitting just .182 with six doubles. But what's most worrisome is that he's struck out six times and hasn't walked once. Before this cold streak, he wasn't fanning at the plate at all and was surprisingly patient. When that's the case, Dayan is about as good as they come. But when he looks like he has of late, he can be about as cold as they get.

Adam Dunn: After he made some impressive adjustments last week, Adam 'Biggum' Dunn tweaked his back [last] weekend in Anaheim and has struggled since then.

This week, Dunn went 1-for-22 with two walks and 12 strikeouts. Yes, that one hit was a two-run home run in what went on to be a close game in favor of the White Sox, but getting one hit in a week is just not enough.

Dunn will likely get both Wednesday and Thursday's games off when the Sox go to Wrigley Field, so hopefully he can regroup himself and come back strong over the weekend.

Zachary Gropper

About Zachary Gropper

Zach is the Managing Editor of GrabSomeBench.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @zmgrop.

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