Spiegel: Good to see Sox address issues

  • General manager Rick Hahn and manager Robin Ventura say they've discussed the team's problems with fundamentals and decided to take a more hands-on approach with players.

    General manager Rick Hahn and manager Robin Ventura say they've discussed the team's problems with fundamentals and decided to take a more hands-on approach with players. Associated Press/file

 
 
Updated 5/15/2015 9:23 AM

For the White Sox, there's a way out of this mess.

The starting pitching must perform like some of us thought it could. And, they have to stop killing themselves with fundamental failures.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Pitch deep, limit base runners. Catch the ball, and throw it well. Hit cutoff men. Run aggressively, but smart. Pay attention and communicate.

It has been difficult to watch the first six weeks and believe those things are coming. It can get late early.

The starters' ERA stands 12th of 15 teams in the AL. They're 13th in fielding. They're last in stolen bases and SB percentage.

The hitting also has been bad. They're last in runs scored, 13th in OPS. But I have some faith in a progression to the mean there. If you clean up other things, runs will take you further.

Lately we've seen flashes of improvement. And the men in charge have started to make needed concessions.

Carlos Rodon is officially in the rotation. He has to be. A lifelong starter, he has been lost and counterproductive coming out of the bullpen. To limit his overall innings, he can be skipped every once in a while. Find 11 or 12 days around the all-star break, and maybe invent an injury for a DL stint this summer.

If the Sox are contending and must consider shutting him down in September, that's a better problem than most.

Robin Ventura and Rick Hahn had three days of meetings in which they reappraised all things fundamental. Ventura was urged to take a more hands-on approach. Base stealers lost some green lights. Defense and logic are being emphasized.

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If the coaches can't get through, you can replace some players.

Wednesday's defensive infield was telling. Platoon third baseman Gordon Beckham's excellent glove got the start, even against a righty starter. Actually, Beckham now has more ABs against righties than lefties.

Emilio Bonifacio started in place of Micah Johnson at second, and made a key play to take a single away from Carlos Gomez late in the game.

Adam LaRoche started at first for just the fifth time, with Jose Abreu going to DH. That ought to happen more often.

Then on Thursday, Johnson was outrighted to Triple A. He's incredibly fast, and brings a professional approach to the plate. But the defense and base running mistakes don't fit with a team trying to win. Carlos Sanchez will play a terrific second base, with Beckham and Bonifacio in their utility roles for now.

David Robertson has been excellent and incredibly fun to watch as a closer.

Chris Sale and Jose Quintana had their best starts of the year in Milwaukee. Jeff Samardzija, the world is waiting for you to be your stable self. You may cost yourself some big money this offseason if you cannot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The White Sox have won three straight series, including their first of the season on the road. As of Thursday, they're 13 games behind in the division, and 3 games out of the second wild card spot.

It's satisfying to see them acknowledge and address their issues. May feels earlier than it did a week ago.

Maddonisms:

In his weekly visit on the radio show, Cubs manager Joe Maddon addressed the struggles of Jorge Soler. Soler is killing fastballs but struggling against off-speed pitches, especially outside the zone. What's he doing, Joe?

"He's chasing. I remember when I first saw Manny Ramirez with Cleveland, and that was part of his problem … he would keep chasing the slider. And then the epiphany and the light bulb goes on and he stops. Jorge has done it before when he does not chase, so it's in his DNA. He's in a swing mode on that pitch, but when he stops, watch out."

Jorge has worked with Ramirez before. They need to fly Manny in and have another visit.

• Matt Spiegel co-hosts "The Spiegel & Goff Show" 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday-Friday on WSCR 670-AM. Follow him on Twitter @mattspiegel670.

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