White Sox general manager Kenny Williams always has something interesting to say, and Tuesday was no different.
Williams answered a multitude of questions at U.S. Cellular Field before the Sox played the Twins, and here are some of the highlights:
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Initially asked if he was enjoying the playoff chase, Williams turned the question around and probed the White Sox' "intellect" while getting swept in a three-game series at Detroit last weekend.
"This is September, man," Williams said. "It's September in the midst of a playoff run. There are common denominators for the teams that will ultimately survive this stretch. It's the will, the intellect and the talent, and not necessarily in that order. Will, intellect and talent.
"There are games where you have to will your way to win and there are other games where you have to use your baseball intellect. We had an opportunity in Detroit, for instance, and one of the conversations we had on the bus and the plane was, 'OK, let's review what happened. Did we play the smartest baseball? Did we take advantage of the other team's weaknesses and did we have the right game plan?' Well, it wasn't a matter of talent that lost us those three games. We think we didn't step up in that (intellect) category."
With the Tigers coming to the Cell for four games next week, Williams didn't want to offer specifics. But he was clearly miffed the Sox bunted only one time at Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who was playing with two bad ankles and barely able to move.
Williams is very happy with the first-place White Sox, but there is a caveat.
"You can't not be proud of them," the GM said. "But we've got to do a better job of staying focused and being committed to the grind and not letting our guard down, because you can see what happens when you let your guard down."
"(Dunn) is one of those off-the-chart teammates," Williams said. "On the field there are still some things he's battling to be where he was when he was hitting .250, .260. When he's focused on left-center field, not giving up his swing or power but his direction to stay inside the ball, then you'll see his strikeouts go down, some more hard contact into that other gap and then you'll see all the things he can do."
Alexei Ramirez's power reduction:
"To a large degree he's had some little things that have bothered him over the course of the season," Williams said. "I've been amazed that he continues to go out there every day when he's beaten up and banged up, and I think he needs a couple of days but he insists on playing. That will take its toll on you a little bit. I look less at the numbers and more the effort and stability he gives us on a day-to-day basis."