The first-place White Sox open the season's second half with a three-game series against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium as they look to remain atop the American League Central and return to the playoffs.
"They get to enjoy [the All-Star break]. But when they come back, be ready to go the same," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It's going to be the same when they get back, as far as the expectations and the focus is back on playing games. But enjoy the four days and the All-Star Game, enjoy it. We get back, we still have more to do."
This is the sixth time since 1991 that the White Sox were in first place at the All-Star break. Four of those times, Chicago stayed there and won the division, but Ventura said the White Sox are taking a day-to-day approach.
"Well, again, you feel you can play with anybody. How it ends up, nobody knows that," Ventura said. "You can control your effort. You can control your concentration and things like that. The things that we work on, we're working on defense and being cognizant of that stuff more than stuff you can't control. That's the stuff you just stay focused on."
The White Sox quest for the postseason begins Friday against the Royals and left-hander Bruce Chen.
Chen received much-needed time off during the All-Star break, as the lefty struggled in his final two first-half starts. He lasted only 5 2/3 innings on July 1 against Minnesota and then exited in the fourth inning in his first-half finale against the Tigers on Saturday, giving up six runs in each outing.
Chen has yet to face the White Sox this season, but has had success against them in his career with a 3.30 ERA in 15 games (10 starts).
Rookie Jose Quintana gets the ball for Chicago and will look to build off a successful first half.
He's been a surprise contributor for the White Sox, posting a 2.04 ERA in 57 1/3 innings. Between his Major League outings and the 106 innings he threw in the Minors, the 23-year-old already has exceeded his previous single-season high for innings, but said he feels fine.
"I'm not worried about it. My arm feels good," Quintana said through translator and White Sox manager of cultural development Jackson Miranda. "I definitely have reached the limits of what I pitched last year, but since my arm feels good, I feel like I can double whatever I did before. I feel all right."
White Sox: Youkilis making a difference
Chicago is 9-4 with Kevin Youkilis in the lineup since acquiring the third baseman from Boston on June 24.
Youkilis filled a void at third base and is hitting .347 with three home runs and 14 RBIs in 13 games with the White Sox. He has at least one hit and one RBI in each of his last seven games.
In 42 games with the Red Sox, Youkilis hit .233 with four homers and 14 RBIs.
The veteran won his second career American League Player of the Week Award on Monday after leading Chicago to five wins in his second week with the team. Youkilis also received Player of the Week honors with Boston for the week ending May 11, 2008.
Royals: Powerful duo
Designated hitter Billy Butler (16 home runs) and third baseman Mike Moustakas (15) are the first Royals duo since Mike Sweeney (16) and Carlos Beltran (15) in 2004 to post 15-plus homers prior to the All-Star break.
Chen is 4-3 with a 3.21 ERA in seven home starts this season, but has a 7.11 mark in 11 road starts.
The Royals took two of three against the White Sox from May 11-13, winning the final two games by a 14-1 margin.
Three of White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko's seven career hits against Chen have left the yard, while catcher A.J. Pierzynski is hitting .407 (11-for-27) with two home runs against the lefty.