OAKLAND, California — Third baseman Jake Burger has played in 21 straight games, so maybe it's a good time to take the night off.
Burger didn't do either, so it made more sense for him and manager Pedro Grifol as the White Sox 36-47 opened their three-game series against the Athletics 21-62 Friday.
“Definitely I feel like I need it,” said Burger, who is hitting . 102 in his last 13 games with one homer, one RBI and 19 strikeouts. “Not foot wise, more mental than anything else. I have been on the outside of my approach for the last week and a half. Talking to Pedro, having a good conversation about it.”
Burger was 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in the Sox's 9-7 win against the Angels Thursday, giving him a 0.215/0.264/0.514 streak and a .778 OPS that rank third on the team behind Luis Robert Jr. and Eloy Jimenez.
“Other than (Thursday) I haven't really been out of the zone,” Burger said. “Haven't had that cake to really drive. Go to 3-2 and the guys are making some really good pitches. That's part of it. What's frustrating is that I know it's there.
Coach Eddie Rodriguez reminded this Burger about the body of work, not where he is currently, reminding Burger he has 17 home runs this season. Twenty-nine of his 46 hits were used on extra bases.
“That will keep me in the right mindset,” says Burger. “Knowing me, I can get out of myself and try to overanalyze some things. It puts you in a deeper hole.
Grifol said he “didn't care one bit” about Burger and had been content with his defense as he tackled the hot corner of injured Yoan Moncada.
Over a span of 21 games, Burger scored 11 of 82 (. 134) with five homers and four doubles.
“One swing of the bat can change a game (for him,” said Grifol.
“It's frustrating when I don't hit the ball like I normally do and don't hit it over the fence,” said Burger. “It's more about controlling the zone and not trying to do too much. This can be easier said than done. But I can't let the stretch consume me.
Banks and Scholtens
Left-handed Tanner Banks started Friday in the quarters manned by Mike Clevinger (biceps soreness), with right-handed Jesse Scholtens waiting in the wings.
For Sunday, Grifol said Michael Kopech not taking a turn and getting an extra rest “is a good possibility,” which leaves a potential start for Scholtens depending on how deep Banks throws Friday.
The Sox went to three catchers
Rookie Carlos Perez was activated and outfielder Adam Haseley picked Charlotte, giving Grifol three catchers to work with.
“We pinched a run for (Yasmani) Grandal, we pinched for Seby (Zavala),” said Grifol. “I don't want to be in a situation where we have to do both in the same game and we can't because we don't have a third catcher. There is more possibility for Perez to play than Haseley… having a third catcher is really more important for us.”
Grifol wasn't sure how long the three catchers would stay on the roster. If Perez is not used much, “we will move,” he said.