CLEVELAND -- With the Chicago White Sox looking to fight off their second-consecutive sweep, manager Robin Ventura remains confident that his team is not pressing at the plate and will start to win games as they had during the first week.
"We are what we are," Ventura sad. "We have guys who can hit home runs -- and I hope we do -- but it's one of those things where it's the quality of the at-bat and not doing too much. You can overreact and guys start pressing just because of the situation you're in early in the year, but it's the ability to maintain and kind of keep focus on today instead of what has transpired over this last road trip."
As the 2013 season began, the White Sox came out of the gates swinging, clubbing 11 home runs en route to a 4-2 start. Morale was high as the ball traveled far. Catcher Tyler Flowers had two early home runs, right fielder Alex Rios was among the league's leaders. Over the course of the last five games, however, while the batting average remains respectable (.257), the home runs have slowed considerably. The team's record has subsequently taken it on the chin.
Three of the White Sox power hitters, Tyler Flowers, Adam Dunn and Dayan Viciedo, are combining to hit .144 while taking just three walks on the season. Living and dying by the home run can be a dangerous compromise, especially as Midwestern teams typically start and finish the season amidst adverse weather conditions. Regardless of the lack of manufactured runs over the last five games, Ventura does not plan on forcing his team to play small ball for the mere sake of plating a run.
"I'm not going to try and make guys do something that they're not capable of," said Ventura. "I don't want [Adam] Dunn going up there bunting; he's going up there to try and hit something hard and hit it far. These are the guys that we have, and we have to make the best effort in doing the things that win games -- grinding out at-bats and being more of a tough out and not try to change anything else.
"It goes back to the simple things. Once your head goes outside of the baseball part, pressing and trying to do too much, we start the year seeing it and swinging it. Now, the reality sets in that it's a long year, and you try to go in there and do too much. It's baseball -- see it, hit it."