Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura knows his offense has been struggling, but for right now, he’s not losing any sleep over it.
“There’s not a lot you can do, this is who we are,” Ventura said. “You work at it, you look at stuff and try and help guys out. We haven’t spent any all-nighters in here.”
When Ventura says this is who the White Sox are, hopefully he doesn’t mean they’re a team that will average two runs a game, which is what they’ve done during their five-game losing streak.
Ventura decided to give two struggling players, Brent Morel and Gordon Beckham, days off on Sunday against the Boston Red Sox. Beckham is hitting .153, Morel is hitting .178 and neither has a home run on the season. Ventura said he’s just going with a different look with the lineup, but wasn’t committing to any permanent changes. Ventura said he’d wait and see how things go on Sunday, but expected them to both be back in the lineup on Tuesday.
“I think a lot of it has become mental, it mounts up on them,” Ventura said of Morel and Beckham’s struggles. “These are just little mental breaks, giving them this day and they have [Monday] off and then they’ll be back at it. You look at Gordon, the at-bat he had last night, it was a good at-bat. He just didn’t get a hit. But he grinded it out, the competitiveness was there. He competed that at-bat.”
The bats may be struggling, but the same can’t be said of the starting pitching. The starters have a 3.71 ERA and lead the league in complete games (3), strikeouts (126), batting average against (.206) and opponent on-base percentage (.275).
The biggest factor in the staff’s impressive start may just be Jake Peavy's return to Cy Young form. Peavy leads the AL with a 0.69 WHIP and two complete games, is second with a 1.67 ERA and third with 33 strikeouts.
“The last two [complete games have been a bit of a surprise],” Ventura said. “You expect him to give you six, maybe seven. Also just the pitch count, you expect complete games to be in the 140s, he’s just been that precise.”
Despite the losing streak, the Sox find themselves only one game back of first place, currently shared by the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers. With Peavy leading the way for a very strong White Sox pitching staff, the onus is now on the offense to try and find some consistency. If anyone outside of Paul Konerko (.383 BA/.444 OBP/.679 SLG, who is the team leader in all three categories but was scratched from Sunday’s lineup with neck stiffness, can step up on the offense and if the young bullpen arms can begin to settle in to their roles, the White Sox could actually find themselves as legitimate contenders for a playoff spot.