CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox are a home run-hitting team in search of a more balanced attack.
The stigma of creating runs only through the long ball seems to bother management as much as the players themselves. Factually there is nothing wrong with a team built around power. U.S Cellular Field has been a band box since renovation of the power alleys six years ago made the ball park one of the most home run friendly in baseball.
Former GM Ken Williams took over the job from Ron Schuler with the idea that starting pitching and home runs were the way to win in the American League. Over time the philosophy changed to home runs and defense. The defense is a byproduct of having a good pitching staff.
"We have to figure out a way to do it," Robin Ventura said about balancing the attack. "This is who we are and you figure you are going to adapt. Every season is different but I am not sure the mindset is different with our guys."
The Sox had their most successful season in 2005 when they manufactured runs with Scott Podsednik at the top of their order.
"You really don't know until you play it out," Paul Konerko said. "As a team and as an individual hitter you can't get caught up in the home run. If you want win with homers like we did the first two games that is fine. You still must avoid thinking that approach is the way to win ballgames."
All of the White Sox runs in the first two contests came via the home run.
"A home run is a result. If you chase results it is not going to end up very good for you as a hitter," Konerko said. "If you identify where you might want to hit a ball, as opposed to saying ‘I am going to hit a home run,' that is a better thing to do than saying, 'OK it is 3-1, I am going to hit a home run.' It used to work in Little League, it doesn't work too much here."
General manager Rick Hahn attempted to change the dynamic of an offense that collapsed late last season, by adding contact hitter Jeff Keppinger to the lineup this year. Keppiner is the second hardest active player to strike out (once every 15.64 at bats ) and the top player in baseball with more extra base hits and walks than strikeouts.
"You have to see it and hit it," Adam Dunn said. "Where ever it goes it is going to go. You try to force things or hit to the opposite field than you get yourself in bad habits. I think everybody has a good approach right now and hopefully it stays."
Dunn joked about how hitting a home run is not part of the mindset.
"Sometimes I go up there when I am bored and try to hit a home run," Dunn joked. "I never try to go up there and hit a home run. I use to but not anymore these guys are way to good now "