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updated: 7/6/2011 12:23 PM

White Sox' hitters clutch remains stuck

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  • White Sox center fielder Brent Lillibridge misses a fly ball that went for a triple by Kansas City Royals' Alcides Escobar during the second inning Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field.

      White Sox center fielder Brent Lillibridge misses a fly ball that went for a triple by Kansas City Royals' Alcides Escobar during the second inning Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field.
    Associated Press

 
 

When runners are on base, the pressure is supposed to be on the pitcher.

It doesn't matter what level of baseball you're playing, that is a fact.

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Watching the White Sox this season, however, it appears to be nothing more than fiction.

For whatever reason, Sox hitters seem to take the heat off the pitcher and put it squarely on themselves when there is traffic on the basepaths.

So guess what happened in Tuesday night's game against the Royals at U.S. Cellular Field?

The White Sox piled up 13 hits, including 9 in 6 innings against Kansas City starting pitcher Felipe Paulino, who was 0-7 with a 5.34 ERA in his last 30 games (6 starts) with three different teams -- also the Astros and Rockies.

They scored 3 runs off Paulino, but would have had much more overall had they done something with their 13 hits and 2 walks.

"We're so unpredictable," manager Ozzie Guillen said after the Sox lost to the Royals 5-3. "I can't remember the last time we scored a lot of runs. I only remember a couple of games, Opening Day, and in Boston we beat the (crud) out of the pitcher (Jon Lester). But right now we struggle getting big hits. We had what, 13 hits, and we only scored 3 runs, and 1 by the (Paul Konerko) home run?

"We're struggling with people on base and like I preach, we have to get better than that. We need big hits. In the American League you need big hits in the clutch or you're not going to win games. The pitching staffs are so good in the American League you've got to go out there and get those runs."

The White Sox didn't -- again.

And starter Jake Peavy was not able to bail them out as the right-hander had some serious command issues while allowing 5 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks while throwing 103 pitches in 6 innings.

Once again, the Sox are below the .500 mark at 43-44.

"I'd like to think it's going to happen," Peavy said. "We just don't ever click on all cylinders. I think it's going to happen. We've been pitching fairly well. We're pitching very well. We've had some timely hitting. When I get three runs, I expect to win."

Peavy is kind of right about the timely hitting, and we'll go to the numbers now.

Coming into Tuesday, Konerko was batting .298 with runners in scoring position. Juan Pierre, of all people, led the White Sox at .309, while Carlos Quentin (.294) and A.J. Pierzynski (.290) were also solid.

But overall, the Sox were batting a weak .242 with RISP, and that average dropped way off to .203 with two outs.

We'll round up the usual suspects when listing the Sox' worst hitters with RISP: Adam Dunn (.136) and Alex Rios (.141), followed by Omar Vizquel (.192), Mark Teahen (.200), Alexei Ramirez (.253), Gordon Beckham (.254) and Brent Morel (.256).

In Tuesday's loss, the White Sox were 2-for-12 with RISP, with Dunn and center fielder Brent Lillibridge leading the way with 0-for-3s.

"It's definitely not a recipe for winning," Konerko said. "There's going to be reasons why you lose and that's one of them, leaving guys out there. But wanting it to change and saying it doesn't exactly make it happen."

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