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The wild ride to .500 for the Chicago White Sox

Adam Eaton will need help from Todd Frazier and Jose Abreu if the White Sox want to make noise in the second half. David Banks/USA TODAY Sports

It has been an up-and-down season for the Chicago White Sox.

They won 23 of their first 33 games and sat atop the American League Central Division standings with a six-game lead over the Cleveland Indians through May 9. The Chicago Cubs were the only team in baseball with a better record than the White Sox at that time (24-6).

After the hot start, the White Sox lost 20 of their next 26 games, the worst record in baseball from May 10 to June 8. They were fourth in the division with a 29-30 record after an 11-4 loss to the Washington Nationals that day.

The White Sox followed up that stretch by going 16-12 over their next 28 games before losing eight of their next nine.

They enter Wednesday Night Baseball against the Cubs (8 p.m. ET on ESPN/WatchESPN) on a four-game winning streak.

Eaton among baseball's most valuable players

Adam Eaton has been the best White Sox position player by a wide margin this season. He ranks first on the team and 10th among all position players in baseball with 4.3 wins above replacement. Todd Frazier ranks second among White Sox position players at 2.0.

Eaton’s OPS hovered between .751 and .762 for the first three months of the season, but that number has been on the rise during Eaton’s power surge this month. Eaton has three home runs in July, tied for his third-highest total in a single month.

He leads the majors with 19 defensive runs saved on the season.

All or nothing for Frazier

Frazier has been consistent in a different way this season. He has between six and nine home runs in every month, and his 29 home runs entering Thursday ranked second in MLB behind Mark Trumbo.

But it has been an all-or-nothing approach for Frazier. He has the second-lowest batting average in baseball and ranks 141st in on-base percentage. Frazier has an on-base percentage below .300 in three of four months this season.

Wednesday’s starter

Anthony Ranaudo will make his White Sox debut Wednesday. He began this season with the Texas Rangers, allowing seven earned runs in 3 2/3 innings in two relief appearances.

Ranaudo was acquired from Texas for Matt Ball. Ranaudo went 5-3 with a 3.20 ERA in 13 starts for Triple-A Charlotte.

Across 58 1/3 career innings pitched in the majors, Ranaudo has featured a solid curveball as his top secondary offering. Opponents have a .435 OPS in at-bats ending with the pitch.

The problem has been Ranaudo’s three other pitches. Opposing hitters have a .944 OPS against Ranaudo’s fastball, changeup and slider in 181 at-bats ending with those pitches.