For White Sox' offense, better weather sure can't hurt
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Not one to make excuses, Paul Konerko, celebrating with Adam Dunn after hitting a 2-run homer Sunday against Tampa Bay, says the weather has been a factor in the White Sox' slow start offensively.
One month of the major-league season is in the books, so numbers are starting to matter.
For the White Sox, they're not so good.
Sox scouting report
White Sox vs. Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark
TV: Comcast SportsNet-Plus Tuesday; WCIU Wednesday, Comcast SportsNet Thursday
Radio: WSCR 670-AM
Pitching matchups: The White Sox' Jose Quintana (2-0) vs. Yu Darvish (4-1) Tuesday; Chris Sale (2-2) vs. Nick Tepesch (2-1) Wednesday; Jake Peavy (3-1) vs. Justin Grimm (2-0) Thursday. All games 7:05 p.m.
At a glance: The White Sox get their first look at A.J. Pierzynski in a Texas uniform. Pierzynski was the Sox' starting catcher from 2005-12. He's off to a solid start with the Rangers, batting .295 with 4 home runs and 11 RBI in 21 games. Tyler Flowers, the White Sox' new No. 1 catcher, is batting .177 with 3 homers and 7 RBI in 20 games. Darvish ranks first in the AL with 49 strikeouts and fourth with a 1.65 ERA. In the four-game series vs. Tampa Bay, Adam Dunn was 5-for-14 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 3 walks. That raised his batting average from .100 to .143. Quintana had an 18 scoreless innings streak snapped in his last start. He beat Texas last July, allowing 1 run on 2 hits in 8 innings. The Sox were 6-3 vs. the Rangers in 2012.
Next: Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium, Friday-Sunday
— Scot Gregor
We'll start with the 10-14 record, which left the Sox tied for last place with Cleveland in the American League Central heading into Monday's play.
Far and away the healthiest team in baseball from 2002-12, the White Sox already have six players on the disabled list.
Last — fittingly — there's the Sox' offense.
As they got a break in the schedule Monday and prepared for Tuesday night's game at Texas, the White Sox ranked last in the AL in runs scored (83), on-base percentage (.280), OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage, .662), walks (54) and batting average with runners in scoring position (.188).
Following Sunday's 8-3 loss to Tampa Bay, White Sox captain Paul Konerko put his finger on the problem.
Outside of a three nice days of weather at Washington (April 9-11) and four games indoors at Toronto's Rogers Centre (April 15-18), the Sox have been trying to hit in some brutal conditions.
Call it an excuse if you want, but Konerko has been around long enough to say whatever he wants. And given his respect throughout the game, when Konerko speaks it is wise to listen.
"I know the weather's going to be better (in Texas)," Konerko said. "We're kind of tired like everybody else in the Midwest or the East.
"It just beats you down. You never get used to it; you don't like it. Any time you have the chance to get in good weather, I think guys will start to feel better. I'm sure it will happen."
Konerko hit a 2-run homer in Sunday's loss to the Jays, tying him with Billy Williams for 45th place on the all-time list with 426. But like most White Sox hitters, Konerko is off to a disappointing start with a hitting line of .235/.295/.412.
That's why the 37-year-old first baseman/designated hitter wasn't overly thrilled after catching up with Williams on the HR list.
"Right now, I'm one of those guys trying to find a feel," Konerko said. "I feel good in one at-bat and the other at-bat it might go away. Facing some good pitching, you just have to strap it on.
"So I'm not thinking too much about that kind of stuff (all-time list) because I know the guy on the mound doesn't give a (bleep). So I can't either, and I wouldn't either way. They're trying to get me out, and as long as that's happening, I have to be focused in."
Critics are sure to focus in on Konerko using the poor weather as an excuse, but temperatures are starting to climb and the Sox' offense has to start following suit or it's going to be a long summer.
"There is nothing you can really do," Konerko said. "I'm not big on putting a bunch of stuff on and trying to be warm. I just feel like you have to grit it out. There's no easy answer to that, but both teams have to play in it and I guess that's the old cliché.
"But every year, the early season, you're always dealing with that stuff. Before long we'll all be complaining about the heat, so that's the way it goes."
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