White Sox manager Robin Ventura would like nothing more than to take all of his slumping hitters and sit them on the bench.
"Unless you have a 40-man roster, it's one of those where we have to find a way out of it and keep grinding and keep going," Ventura said after Dioner Navarro and the Cubs pulverized the Sox 9-3 at Wrigley Field on Wednesday afternoon.
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The White Sox actually do have a 40-man roster -- as do the other the 29 teams in major-league baseball. But each team can only use 25 at a time, and that's part of the problem.
Through the first 50 games of the season, the Sox rank last in the American League in runs scored (180), on-base percentage (.293), walks (121) and OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage, .672). And they are near the bottom with a .240 batting average.
Right fielder Alex Rios is having a nice season with a .284 batting average, 10 home runs and 28 RBI, and third baseman Conor Gillaspie (.291, 3 HR, 9 RBI) has been a pleasant surprise.
After that, just about every White Sox hitter is either treading to stay afloat or under water.
The Sox' offense did perk up a bit during a surge of 9 wins in 12 games, but they've managed 3 total runs on 11 hits in back-to-back losses to the Cubs.
"I think we are," hitting coach Jeff Manto said when asked if his hitter are improving. "Unfortunately, we faced (Cubs starter Jeff) Samardzija (Monday), who probably had the best-pitched game of the year in both leagues. So you unfortunately have to tip your cap. We just have to keep battling. The quality of at-bats are getting better. We just hope there are a little bit more results, obviously."
We've hashed and rehashed Adam Dunn from the first week of the season, so let's just say little has changed there. Dunn was 0-for-4 Wednesday and he struck out three times against Cubs starter Scott Feldman, dropping his batting average to .153.
Alejandro De Aza is becoming an equal concern for the White Sox.
The leadoff man was 0-for-3 with another strikeout Wednesday. De Aza's average has tumbled to .239, he has a .281 on-base percentage and his 55 strikeouts rank second to Dunn's 69.
"Until he gets his feet underneath him, we're unfortunately going to see more of the same," Manto said. "But as soon as he gets his feet underneath him, he should be back."
Alexei Ramirez moved up to the No. 2 hole when Jeff Keppinger got off to a slow start. Now, there is a chance Ramirez (.283) gets bumped up another spot to replace De Aza.
"It is a possibility," Ventura said. "Anything at this point is on the table. It's not like you're not going to do it. When you do it, it probably won't be tomorrow."
Making his second start since coming back from shoulder surgery, John Danks lasted just 4 innings and allowed 4 runs (3 earned) on 5 hits. He served up Navarro's first two home runs, both on hanging changeups.
"I obviously wasn't as sharp as I'd like to be, but you make some mistakes to big-league hitters and they're going to do what they're supposed to do," Danks said. "You tip your cap to Dioner and the team, but especially Navarro. He had a big game. Hats off to him."
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