The White Sox played their 60th game of the season Tuesday night, and you know what that means.
One third of the schedule is in the books, so it's a perfect time for evaluation.
The Sox have been hovering around .500 for much of the season, and they are 30-30 following Tuesday night's 4-1 win over Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium.
That's not necessarily a bad thing. At this time last year the White Sox were 26-34 and on their way to 99 losses.
While they still are a flawed team in many areas, the Sox are on a much better path this season.
"I like this team," manager Robin Ventura told reporters, "There are parts when you start missing parts of the team; it started differently than it is right now.
"The injuries that we had and everything else. These guys have found a way to come to the ballpark and compete at a high effort level. The effort level has been good. I like this team."
There is a lot to like, starting with Jose Abreu.
The new first baseman came off the disabled Monday and supplied all of the offense with a 2-run homer against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.
Abreu hit another 2-run shot (No. 17) Tuesday night, this time off L.A. starter Dan Haren, and added a run-scoring groundout. Tyler Flowers chipped in with a solo home run,
Thanks in large part to Abreu, the Sox were tied for third in the American League in runs scored heading into Tuesday's play. Last season they were dead last.
The White Sox have been able to score runs at an impressive rate despite losing Avisail Garcia early with a season-ending shoulder injury and losing Abreu, Adam Eaton, Gordon Beckham and Conor Gillaspie to injuries that required stints on the disabled list.
"I think we need some guys to get healthy and continue to improve," Ventura said. "That's part of where we started from last year to this year, you go ahead and get younger guys and try to improve and hopefully that progresses to the point where you are playing meaningful games.
"For us, it's a shot in the arm when you get a Jose Abreu who is in the middle of the lineup. He's always a force. If other guys around him start picking it up to where it's consistent, then all of a sudden you start making a move."
The Sox' starting pitching has been much better lately, thanks in large part to Chris Sale returning from a five-week absence with a flexor-muscle strain.
Jose Quintana has been typically solid (and unlucky), John Danks is pitching as well as he has since returning from shoulder surgery last year, and Hector Noesi -- who started against Los Angeles on Tuesday night -- seems to get better every time out.
Noesi (1-4) allowed 1 run on 5 hits and 4 walks in 6 innings Tuesday, notching his first win since May 6, 2012.