Frazier ends May drought in big way

White Sox 3B slugs homer, double for first hits of month

May 7th, 2016

CHICAGO -- Todd Frazier fully understands the White Sox sit atop the American League Central by a comfortable five-game margin, albeit on May 7, and they feature the AL's best record at 21-10 following a 7-2 victory over the Twins on Saturday night.

The team is the thing for the South Siders, and while that might sound a bit cliche, it has served as a driving force since the start of Spring Training.

But as part of this great group focus, Frazier would like to have a few more games like he did on Saturday. He entered the contest hitless in 19 at-bats during the month of May, but finished the night with his eighth homer, a double and two RBIs.

"His bat might not be where he wants it to be, but he's still coming up with big hits," White Sox ace Chris Sale said of Frazier. "All of his hits that he's gotten up to this point, I feel like, are at a big point in the game or a home run when we need it or an RBI when we really need it. That's the key."

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"In the end, you know what you got. I have no hits in this month," Frazier said before the victory. "It's pretty frustrating. I have a bunch of walks. I've been on base, but god almighty, it's one of those things where I've been through it once before. Frustrating by all means."

That slump Frazier referred to appears to have come in 2013, when he went 3-for-49 from July 26 to Aug. 13 for the Reds.

This slump comes for Frazier's new team, but it's less noticeable because of Frazier's continued strong play defensively.

"He's going to work through it," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It is what it is. He's a big part of our lineup, and we know he's going to hit. The best part is he's not taking it on the field.

"I mean, he's made some great plays at third base to help us win games. We know his bat's going to come around and help us win games. Right now, being a presence behind Jose [Abreu] is a big one, and playing the defense he's playing has been big for us. He'll be in there to figure it out."

Abreu had his own struggles in April, but took the same upbeat approach as Frazier. There are no bad months on a first-place team, regardless of what the numbers might indicate.

Adding Frazier gave Abreu protection in the lineup that was missing for almost all of last season. The strong start for Melky Cabrera and Brett Lawrie has stationed them in run-producing spots in the middle of the order, with Ventura opting not to move either player into the lineup's second slot.

Ventura also doesn't seem inclined to move Abreu to No. 2 and possibly Frazier to 3.

"If we can get some guys that can get on, it's a better feel. I think it makes our lineup deeper," Ventura said. "Melky's a big part of that this year, being a switch-hitter that sits right there in the five-hole and is a buffer. Fraz, too. If we get those guys on [at the top], it's a better flowing lineup."

The Abreu/Frazier tandem eventually figures to hit together, providing a powerful one-two punch for opposing pitchers to face.

"That's a big responsibility for me, hitting behind him," Frazier said. "And say he was struggling in April, I have to step up. Now he's stepping up for me. Once we find that happy medium, maybe next month when we start to play against our division a little more, we'll just keep taking off."