|Abreu looks for another big game as White Sox host Mariners|
After only 19 games, Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu already is in midseason form.
Abreu will look to increase his hitting streak to eight games Tuesday evening when Chicago (5-14) hosts the Seattle Mariners (11-10) in the second game of a three-game set. The White Sox cruised to a 10-4 win in Monday's series opener behind 18 hits, including four by Abreu, who ripped two singles and two home runs.
Abreu is hitting .400 (12-for-30) with three home runs and six RBIs during his seven-game streak. The 31-year-old leads the team with six home runs and is tied with Matt Davidson for the team lead with 12 RBIs.
The Cuban slugger's hot start has not proved contagious for the White Sox as a whole. Chicago's victory Monday snapped a seven-game losing streak and marked only the team's second win at home in 10 games.
Seattle has enjoyed a better start, although some poor play recently has exposed cause for concern. The Mariners have allowed 24 runs in their past three contests. They have lost two straight games and five of their past seven.
Now, it will be up to Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales (1-2, 5.94 ERA) to try to take some pressure off his team's bullpen. The 26-year-old is making his fifth start of the season and the 19th start of his career.
Gonzales has allowed 23 hits in 16 2/3 innings this season, but his command of the strike zone has been superior with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 19 to 3. He recorded a season-high eight strikeouts his last time out against the Houston Astros. Tuesday's outing will mark his first career appearance against Chicago.
The White Sox will counter with right-hander Chris Volstad (0-0, 4.70 ERA), who will make his first start of the season after four appearances out of the bullpen. The 31-year-old journeyman has started 125 games with the Miami Marlins, Chicago Cubs and White Sox since he debuted at age 21 in 2008.
In his only career appearance against Seattle on June 25, 2011, Volstad collected a victory and a quality start as he held hitters to two runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings. He walked none and struck out two.
Volstad will not have to worry about facing Mariners first baseman Ryon Healy, who has been sidelined more than two weeks because of an ankle injury. Healy has started a minor league rehabilitation assignment to get ready for his return.
"I think Ryon wants to get back and get it going," Mariners manager Scott Servais told reporters on Monday, according to the team's official website. "His season got off to a slow start and he wants to turn it around, so when he's ready and I get the word he's ready, he'll be back."
Meanwhile, the White Sox will continue to hope for more progress from right-hander Danny Farquhar, who suffered a brain hemorrhage in the dugout Friday night. The team announced Monday that Farquhar was "progressing well" but remained in critical but stable condition at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
The White Sox and Mariners each displayed Farquhar's jersey in the series opener to support the popular relief pitcher, who has pitched for both teams during his career.
"Baseball in general is a family," White Sox right-hander James Shields said to the Chicago Sun-Times. "We have a brotherhood here. We're just really supporting him and his family right now."