Finally, home cookin's on deck

Finally, home cookin's on deck

ST. PETERSBURG -- Upon returning home on Sunday night, the White Sox might have to re-introduce themselves to their respective Chicago neighbors or even to the fans coming out to U.S. Cellular Field for Tuesday's series opener against the Royals.

They might even need directions back to their place of residence after spending 20 of their 29 May games away from home. But a couple of positives come from this extended, almost month-long trip.

The White Sox entered Saturday's contest with the Rays holding a 10-9 road record in May, but that includes a four-game sweep by the Blue Jays in Toronto at the start of the month. Of greater importance to the team tied with Houston for the most road games played is that Chicago has just three three-game sets away from U.S. Cellular throughout the entire month of June.

Factoring in their three-game series at Wrigley Field, from June 20-22, the White Sox play 25 of 37 games leading up to the All-Star break in Chicago.

"It seems like we were on the road for the entire month of May," White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "So it will be nice to sleep in our own bed, hang out with our family and drive into familiar surroundings. We still have to play well and win games."

"I think the fans will enjoy it and hopefully we play good enough up there," added White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen of returning home. "I looked at this schedule a couple of weeks ago and I said its pretty tough no matter who you face. To be home and see some different ballclubs, hopefully it works for us. Right now, we are playing well and we need to stick together."

Prior to the third game of this four-game set with the Rays, the White Sox stood as one of just six teams with a road record above .500. With a mark of 16-11, the Los Angeles Angels are the only team more than two games over .500 away from home.

But the White Sox lead all of baseball with 17 road wins. They have a .256 average and 3.21 ERA in visiting ballparks, compared to a .237 average and 3.57 ERA at home.

Those numbers could change at U.S. Cellular with the weather getting warmer. Regardless of the expected output, though, the White Sox have put themselves in good position for the next month of action.

They are sitting in first place and about to enjoy the comforts of home.

"Playing at home is always more fun," White Sox starter John Danks said. "It's especially true right now, with a lot of excitement in Chicago, as both teams are winning -- but especially on the South Side. It keeps us in the game. We want to get back there, have a good homestand and keep the excitement going."

"We've been to tough places. We've been [to St. Petersburg] twice and Cleveland [twice], Minnesota and Anaheim for four games," Pierzynski added. "We knew that it would be the way it was. We had to find a way to get through it and so far, that's what we have done."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.