By Bruce Levine–

CHICAGO (CBS) — The offensive surge that has taken place for the Chicago White Sox during the past three weeks has been encouraging for the franchise and the fan base. Since the All-Star break, the team has played .500 baseball.

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Normally .500 ball is nothing to get excited about. In 2015, the break-even number in games won and lost appears to have more value. Six teams are within three games of the .500 mark. If you add the White Sox, there are seven battling for the second wild-card entry.

The White Sox have cooled off after getting to within one game of break-even a week ago. During this recent dip they have lost four of their last five games. The question of benching some of the regulars came up before Tuesday night’s ballgame. Adam LaRoche and Avisail Garcia have been in slumps for an extended period of time.

LaRoche has been cold all season. The veteran first baseman/designated hitter hasn’t really adapted to the full time DH role. He played most of his career as a first baseman in the National League. This season he has a .661 OPS, a number is almost 150 points below his career mark.

Using the DH spot to rest other players and get some more pop in the lineup is a situation that manager Robin Ventura must consider. Every game is crucial at this point as Chicago fights for its playoff life these next two months.

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“You start looking at situations and matchups,” Ventura said. “There have been times where he was swinging it well. When he is swinging it well, he can hit anybody. He had a really good at-bat (Monday in with a ninth-inning base hit). We did not score the run, but the way he swung it is a really good sign for us.”

Ventura said he would get some at-bats for rookie Trayce Thompson on Wednesday. With the dog days of summer now present, rest for veterans like Melky Cabrera without losing offense in the lineup could mean some DH time for him. That could also dictate fewer at-bats for LaRoche or Garcia.

Ventura is trying to win with two rookies starting in the infield and two second-year players in the outfield trying to play a full big league schedule for the first time.

“We understand where their process is at,” Ventura said. “There is a certain amount of patience and pushing we must do at the same time. We know dealing with these young guys, you must weather a couple of storms. You must give them what they need and create a path, for them to learn how to play in the big leagues. With the guys we have, we are confident they can do that.”

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Winning now and large-scale player development don’t always go hand and hand, so that’s the challenge the White Sox must confront.