Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski is the hottest baseball player on the planet right now.
Pierzynski has reached the 20-homer mark for the first time in his career thanks to his most recent hot streak. Many believed that his power had been sapped following a combined 17 long balls in 2010 and 2011, but he has seen a resurgence over the 2012 season in general.
Much to the chagrin of the Angels, who are desperately trying to claw their way back into the American League West race, Pierzynski's homers were very crucial tallies in two of the series' three games.
On Friday, he launched a three-run dinger in the bottom of the first to put Chicago up 4-1. The White Sox would need all three runs, as the game wound up going to extra innings before Alex Rios hit a game-winning two-run shot in the 10th at U.S. Cellular.
Saturday's homer pulled the Sox within one, but the rest of the lineup was unable to muster a comeback. And Pierzynski's most recent two-run bomb was the most important of them all.
Down 2-1 in the home half of the seventh frame, Pierzynski pinch-hit for Tyler Flowers and socked a 2-0 pitch off of Jason Isringhausen into the right-center field seats to put the Sox up 3-2.
Pierzynski's 11 RBI over the last five games are more than he had in the entire month of July, and just one shy of his June total.
If not for his solid production, both in terms of power and average, the White Sox wouldn't have its slim 1.5-game AL Central lead.
Manager Robin Ventura will need him to continue to build on his 21 home runs and 61 RBI if the South Siders plan on heating up down the pennant-chase stretch.