Breaking News Bar
posted: 4/27/2010 12:01 AM

Power surge helping Sox, but lack of hits hurting

hello
Success - Article sent! close
 
 

The White Sox won three straight games over the weekend and swept the Seattle Mariners.

Each victory featured clutch home runs late in the game - Andruw Jones and Alex Rios hit walk-off shots in the bottom of the ninth inning on Friday and Saturday, and Paul Konerko's major-league leading eighth homer decided Sunday's 3-2 win over the Milton Bradley-less M's in the eighth inning.

The Sox hit 7 home runs in the Seattle series and were tied with the Toronto Blue Jays for the most homers (26) in the American league through Sunday.

Considering Jim Thome is playing for the rival Minnesota Twins this season and Jermaine Dye remains sequestered in unofficial retirement, the early power surge in surprising, right?

"We've got great power," said Jones, who has hit 6 HR in only 48 at-bats. "You've got Paul Konerko, you've got Alex Rios, you've got myself. I think a lot of people underestimated us ever since we said we're going to play different baseball this year. And we will.

"We will because Ozzie (Guillen) has already said what he's going to do and he's going to do it."

Guillen wants to run more, and the White Sox are tied for first in the AL with Tampa Bay in stolen bases (21).

"We scored a few runs stealing bases," Guillen said. "It saved us a couple of times."

In Guillen's ideal offense, the Sox score the bulk of their runs on a single, stolen base and another single. Or on a double and a single. Or on a single, single, double steal and another single.

"We have to do it," Guillen said. "No matter how, no matter how tough it's going to be, we have to do the little things if we want to compete."

Through the first three weeks of the season, the White Sox are still relying heavily on the longball to generate runs.

That's OK, hitting coach Greg walker said, to an extent.

"I look at it as a big positive," Walker said. "If we were sitting here and I saw guys giving away at-bats because they were overswinging ... some of that's going to happen but that's not been our problem.

"I knew if our big boys played well, we'd hit our share of home runs. Andruw Jones has hit a lot of home runs, Paul Konerko, a lot of home runs, and we've got a lot of other guys that on a given year and in this park, they're going to hit some.

"That's not been our miss. Our miss is that we've just not gotten enough opportunities."

In other words, the Sox' offense has failed to do the little things so far.

They head into Tuesday night's game against the Rangers at Texas ranked at or near the bottom of the league in several key offensive categories, including batting average, on-base percentage and average with runners in scoring position.

Equally bad, the White Sox have eight players batting .222 or worse. A.J. Pierzynski (.140), Carlos Quentin (.154) and Gordon Beckham (.214) are the biggest concerns.

The strain is already showing, but Walker takes comfort when looking at the bigger picture.

"Obviously, it's an understatement to say we have not seen this team click on all cylinders," Walker said. "But an encouraging sign is we have scored some runs. If you look at the average we've got, the amount of runs we've scored is pretty good considering how bad we've been. That's the positive. Most teams that hit .220 don't score the amount of runs we've scored. So we've done some good things, we've just not done enough of them.

"We've not had enough base hits, and that's what it comes down to. I really believe when this team gets comfortable ... we're starting to see signs of it and hopefully we get some momentum going and we get more guys participating with confidence."

Hit or miss

A look at where the White Sox' offense ranks among the 14 teams in the American League (through Sunday):

Category

Rank

Batting avg.

.222

14th

Home runs

26

1st*

On-base %

.303

14th

Strikeouts

96

1st

RISP

.212

12th

Stolen bases

21

1st*

Slugging %

.393

9th

OPS %

.696

9th

Runs

74

11th

* Denotes tied for first

RISP (average with runners in scoring position); OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage)

Share this page
    help here