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White Sox need to get some bats going

With seven games to go before the playoffs, Luis Robert and Yoan Moncada are slumping, and Edwin Encarnacion and Nomar Mazara are hitting .164 and .216, respectively.

White Sox DH Edwin Encarnacion is batting just .164.
White Sox DH Edwin Encarnacion is batting just .164.
Aaron Doster/AP

With six games to go before the playoffs and a 1½-game lead over the Twins in the American League Central to protect, now would be a fine time for the White Sox to get some of their lagging bats going.

Luis Robert, Yoan Moncada, Edwin Encarnacion, Nomar Mazara, your team is waiting on you.

“Lagging” and “bats” haven’t been connected much when writing the story of the 2020 Sox, who are averaging 5.2 runs a game, second behind the Yankees in the AL. But the Sox’ average is 3.4 in the last eight games, and the aforementioned foursome, who comprise a large chunk of the lineup, haven’t done much to help.

The numbers tell the story:

Moncada: Arguably the Sox’ 2019 MVP, Moncada (.227/.324/.369) hasn’t been right physically for most of the season after testing positive for the coronavirus. He has one hit — a triple Saturday — in his last 26 at-bats after going 0-for-4 on Monday and is 15-for-84 in his last 25 games with no homers since Aug. 17, tied for the longest stretch of games without a homer in his career.

Mazara: He hit 20, 20, 20 and 19 homers in four seasons with the Rangers but finally hit his first as a Sox on Saturday. While the right-handed-hitting Adam Engel (.306/.342/.444) is much better defensively and has hit better, Sox manager Rick Renteria is giving the left-handed-hitting Mazara — who hit a 505-foot homer against the Sox last season — every opportunity to find his swing. But Mazara is batting .217/.288/.283 with a .571 OPS. He is 5-for-36 in his last 11 games.

Encarnacion: The 37-year-old

designated hitter, signed to a $12 million contract in the offseason, has 434 career homers, including 10 this year. And after going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and a groundout with the bases loaded Monday, he has only 22 hits in 37 games. His hitting line: .159/.250/.406.

Robert: After winning AL Rookie of the Month honors for July/August, the ultra-talented center fielder is batting .092 with one homer and 24 strikeouts in September. When he does make contact, he’s also not hitting it as hard, with his exit velocity dropping about 10 mph on average this month. Robert was 0-for-2 with two walks Monday.

Walking twice in two straight games is at least a start, and maybe a glimmer of hope that not swinging at everything in sight will get Robert out of his funk.

“It’s been nice to see,” Renteria said, “because we need him. It doesn’t take much. One good swing, one good at-bat to return to normal.”

There’s time to get swings and approaches in the right place in this last week of the shortened 60-game season.

“[Other] guys are carrying the torch right now,” pitcher Dallas Keuchel said. “Who knows, in a week and a half, maybe somebody else will be picking up the slack.”

NOTES: Left-hander Aaron Bummer, on the injured list with a sore biceps, threw his second simulated game in Cleveland and appears close to appearing in a game for a test to determine if he’s playoff-ready.

• Lefty Carlos Rodon (shoulder) threw two innings at Schaumburg on Sunday.

• The Indians moved MVP candidate Shane Bieber back a day to start Wednesday and will have a bullpen day Tuesday instead.