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White Sox Fri Apr 05 2013

White Sox Situational Hitting an Early Concern

Sox_200.pngNot counting some errors on the field and off, the White Sox played well over their opening homestand against the Royals to start the season. They got quality starts from their three best pitchers, the bullpen didn't allow a run, and key, questionable figures like Tyler Flowers, Gordon Beckham and Alex Rios each had a sublime series.

Most impressively, the team pounded the ball. Flowers went deep twice, and Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo also homered. Adam Dunn crushed a soft-serve high-80s fastball deep into the stands. The Sox indeed were the South Side Hitmen.

Just as long as they were jacking home runs. Otherwise, they didn't get much in terms of offensive production, especially in big spots. As a team, the Sox went only 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position against Kansas City, and they only got one non-home run RBI.

The situational hitting was subpar. On Monday, Flowers and Beckham each struck out to end the second inning with two men on, and later, Rios walked and stole second in the eighth with no outs and was stranded. On Wednesday, Viciedo lined out to end the sixth with runners on second and third. The next inning, the Sox got two on and ended up getting nothing after a De Aza bunt. On Thursday Chicago left two runners (the tying runs) on base in both the seventh and ninth inning.

This wouldn't be that troubling except that it was such an issue last year. The Sox routinely left guys on in big spots, presumably waiting for the home run that never came.

The Sox are built around big swinging power hitters (like Dunn, Viciedo and Flowers) that take advantage of a small-ish ballpark like The Cell. They'll get a lot of home runs, and their ratio of "RBIs by HR" to "RBIs not by HR" is probably one of the highest in the league. The Sox play to their park, and they're still formidable enough offensively on the road. They will live and die by the longball.

The Sox just have to hit them when guys are on base.

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