ARLINGTON, Texas – The White Sox ranked seventh in walks with 121 going into Wednesday’s game against the Texas Rangers and led the American League in at-bats while ahead in the count. They were 26th in walks last season.
From the top of the lineup to the bottom, the Sox are being more selective and everyone is kind of getting into the act, led by Brett Lawrie, of all people, with 18, followed by Adam Eaton (16), Melky Cabrera and Todd Frazier (15 each), Jose Abreu (14) and Jimmy Rollins (10).
“It’s something you work on,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “In the last couple of years we haven’t done a really good job, especially swinging outside the zone. There’s probably a fair amount of pitchers going off of what we used to be, of not throwing the ball in the zone. If you’re going to swing at balls, why throw a strike?’’
The Sox drew five walks during the fifth inning of their 13-11 loss to the Rangers Tuesday, the most by a Sox team since they took five walks in a game against the Red Sox in 2010. Lawrie is only 10 shy of his 2015 total with the Oakland A’s over a career high 602 plate appearances.
“It’s an effort to get it in the zone, we’ve been working on it,’’ Ventura said. “We have guys who haven’t historically walked who are walking now. But you don’t want to get so take-happy that you lose your aggressiveness. So there is a fine line there.’’
No rest for the cheery
Frazier and Lawrie have started every game and bundle of energy Lawrie has played every inning at second base.
“We have the two off days coming up [Thursday and Monday] quick,’’ Ventura said. “I wouldn’t mind giving a day off but … they’d rather not have one.
“Fraze you might want to give a day off, but he’s swinging well so you want to keep him in there to keep that going. Brett, I just don’t want him sitting by me.’’
Switch-hitter Dioner Navarro caught a day game after a night game because the Rangers started a left-hander both nights and Navarro and Latos have clicked.
Normal rest for Rollins
Tyler Saladino started at shortstop for Jimmy Rollins, who has played in 24 of the Sox’ 35 games. Ventura said he plans to keep using Rollins (.247/.315/.361 slash line) in the same capacity.
“He’s doing a good job right there in the 2 hole,’’ Ventura said. “I just want to make sure he’s fresh. When he’s playing he can get a little run down, he’s of age (37) but when a guy is a little older, that part of his career when he goes out there you want to make sure he’s fresh enough to feel like he has everything going for him.’’