Todd Frazier believes the White Sox have one of the most powerful lineups in baseball.
“Strength-wise, we’re right there,” Frazier said. “I’d say we’re one of the tops in the league. I think if you put us in a home run derby with somebody, we’ve got a good shot.”
Derby muscles have not translated into a potent offense for the Sox. They entered Friday tied for last in the American League in home runs despite a group that includes Frazier, Jose Abreu, Avisail Garcia, Melky Cabrera and Matt Davidson.
On Friday, the Sox got power from an unlikely source. Leadoff hitter Leury Garcia hit two home runs, but it wasn’t enough as the San Diego Padres pulled away for a 6-3 win.
The Sox (15-18) have lost six games in a row and nine of 11. During the six-game losing streak, they have been outscored 34-18.
A surprisingly good start has given way to an ugly slump on the South Side, where a rebuilding project could take years.
“I just tell them tomorrow’s another day,” said manager Rick Renteria, who met with his coaches for more than 20 minutes after the game. “It’s like everything. Things that you might identify as being an issue, you just try to clean it up a little bit and find the solution. It’s the only way you’re going to do it.”
In the short term, can the Sox rediscover the long ball?
“I’m not too concerned about it,” Renteria said. “It’s still a long season. I think if you’re looking for extra homers, if you’re looking for the 35 or 40-plus homers per season [for a player], I think it’s doable but probably not probable. But I still think our home run numbers will still come.”
So far, they’ve have been lacking. Garcia’s blasts gave the Sox 32 home runs in 33 games. The only team in the AL with fewer home runs is the Boston Red Sox (30). The league average is more than 40, and four teams in the majors have topped 50.
Other aspects of the Sox’ offense also have lulled. They entered Friday ranked No. 22 in the big leagues in batting average (.236), No. 26 in on-base percentage (.298) and No. 26 in slugging percentage (.371).
Davidson said it was too soon to declare a power outage.
“It’s been early, it’s been cold, and we really haven’t clicked as an offense all together consistently yet,” he said. “We’ve been in ballgames pretty much all the time, we’re playing .500, so that’s a good sign for us. When it gets clicking all together, we could be pretty scary.
“You’ve got a lot of veteran guys here, guys with a lot of experience. They know what they need to do for their swing. For the guys playing every day, they’re 100 bats in. They still have 500 more to go.”
Frazier hit 40 home runs last season and has hit at least 29 in each of the last three seasons. This year, he has three home runs and is on pace to finish with 14.
Patience is important for unlocking power, Frazier said.
“The power comes when you’re hitting the pitch you want and not missing,” he said. “You’re going to miss a lot of them, and you’re going to hit a lot of them. Right now, I’d say [we have] more misses than usual, but they always have a way of evening out when you’re at the plate. It’s a matter of making the adjustment and letting that power come and not really worrying about anything else.”
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