Tyler Flowers went 1-for-2 against Cleveland on May 2, hiking his batting average to a hefty .357.
Six weeks later, the White Sox' starting catcher has completely lost it. "I don't know," Flowers said. "If I knew, I wouldn't be struggling."
Contact information ( * required )
Flowers is struggling big time, and after going 0-for-4 with 3 strikeouts in Saturday's loss to the Royals, his average has plunged to .250. Even worse, Flowers is a staggering 0-for-21 with 18 strikeouts over his last seven games.
Timing is a key part of hitting for Flowers, and his swing has been slower during the slide. He also has been pulling off pitches. Manager Robin Ventura offered some advice.
"Anytime a guy goes through hitting stuff like Tyler's going through, just make it as simple as possible," Ventura said. "I think you get caught up in the mechanics and everything that goes with that, your head can go so many different ways, thinking about what you're trying to do before the guy even throws it.
"You can't throw it out there; you can't steer it. All you can do is hit it. I think for every player, make it as simple as you can and then you work your way out of it."
In fairness to Flowers, most of the lineup has been struggling.
"It's really difficult," Ventura said. "What makes playing baseball very hard is anybody can get a hit maybe once, but to come out here ever single day and try and hit, that's the hardest part.
"That's the stuff that will bring you to your knees, wear you down, not let you sleep at night, all those things. You just make it as simple as you possibly can to work your way out if it. I think that's where he's headed right now."
Teammate Paul Konerko is convinced Flowers will get his swing turned around.
"It's definitely a fight," Konerko said. "If it's easy, everybody would do it up here. It's not easy. But he's done a lot of good things and he's got to remember that, and it can turn. It will turn. And when it turns, it usually turns for a long time.
"So you've just got to keep grinding and doing it the right way, which he is. He's fighting the fight the right way. He's not taking his offense out to the defense; he's not doing any of that. He's doing it all right, and you'd like to think if you give it to the game, it's going to give back."
The White Sox could use a reliable right-handed starter in the rotation to balance out left-handers Chris Sale, John Danks and Jose Quintana.
It won't be Erik Johnson, at least not in the near future.
Optioned to Class AAA Charlotte on April 26 after going 1-1 with a 6.46 ERA in 5 starts, Johnson is 1-4 with a 6.70 ERA in 9 starts with the Knights.
"I don't see the games, but you see the numbers," manager Robin Ventura said. "You have people that are watching and you get reports on him, but when you just see the numbers, it does make you scratch your head because you know he has talent.
"We've seen it. We've seen it up here, so to get that combination back where he has the confidence, the location, the ability to do it, that's when you get that call back up."
The White Sox have been making a flurry of minor-league trades, and the trend continued Saturday when they acquired outfielder Michael Taylor from Oakland's Class AAA Sacramento farm club.
Once considered a potential building block for the Athletics, the 28-year-old Taylor never put it together while batting .135 with 1 home run and 1 RBI in parts of three seasons with Oakland.
The 6-foot-5, 255-pound Taylor batted .243 with 5 homers and 31 RBI in 59 games with Sacramento this season. He will report to AAA Charlotte.
The Sox sent right-handed pitcher Jake Sanchez to the Athletics for Taylor. Sanchez, who was signed last season while pitching for the Joliet Slammers, was 5-4 with a 2.80 ERA with Class A Kannapolis this year.