White Sox designated hitter Adam LaRoche made his second straight start against the Cubs on Saturday, which was just his third start of the week.
LaRoche sat Tuesday through Thursday and entered Wednesday’s game for one at-bat. He recorded his first hit since Aug. 7 with a 1 for 4 showing Saturday. He went 0 for 4 on Friday.
LaRoche entered Saturday’s game with a .210/.300/.339 slash line in his first year with the Sox, all of which are career worsts for him in a full season. The Sox signed him to be a left-handed power bat at hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field, and LaRoche has managed just 10 homers and 37 RBI in 106 games.
By continuing to start LaRoche this weekend, though, it’s clear manager Robin Ventura hasn’t given up on his $25 million offseason acquisition.
“It does get to a point where you’ve got to try somebody else,” Ventura said. “But right now, we’re hoping he gets back to where he can knock in some runs and be productive and be a part of it.”
Ventura acknowledged, though, how much less effective the lineup is without a productive designated hitter.
“You need a guy like Adam to kind of pick it up, because it helps with the balance of your lineup,” he said. “It’s just tougher going in with a righty, so for him, we need him to get going. And hopefully [J.B.] Shuck will be ready in a few days to be an option in there, to be able to balance that out. … But we know we’re better when Adam gets going.”
Samardzija’s struggles: Jeff Samardzija may make the Sox regret holding onto him at the trade deadline.
After watching him turn in his third poor start in a row – with 22 earned runs allowed during that span – Ventura assured the media that Samardzija is healthy but isn’t hitting his spots.
“You can see with velocity and his breaking stuff and split and all that, it’s more location,” Ventura said. “Just have to get better. It always comes down to location and what you’re throwing in certain counts.”
Hitters have found particular success against Samardzija with runners on base. Opposing batters are hitting .314 with men on versus .242 with the bases empty.
The Saladino inning: Third baseman Tyler Saladino made three impressive outs in the second inning Saturday.
Jorge Soler hit a hard grounder to Saladino’s right that he attempted to grab with a backhand stab. The ball, though, bounced off Saladino’s glove and into the air. He quickly recovered, grabbed the ball from the air with his bare hand and threw a laser to get Soler by a step.
Saladino then made a diving catch to his left on a line drive off the bat of Chris Denorfia to end the inning.
Saladino made a running grab in foul territory behind third to record the first out of the inning.