Hitting slumps — whether trying to avoid them or breaking out of them — is about confidence. That can be a product of experience, which is among the many things the young White Sox lack.
“Confidence is the biggest thing that we’re trying to maintain with every player,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. “You have to find balance between allowing them to go out there and not particularly get the results that they want. But the biggest challenge that we have is to make sure they focus on their approaches and the things that they’re supposed to be doing to give themselves a chance.’’
The Sox had been stymied by Indians pitching as much as their offensive shortcomings, going scoreless in the first two games of the weekend series with the defending American League champs.
That the Sox took the first series against the Indians last week in Cleveland played into things, too.
“Look, they came in here wanting to show they are the reigning American League champions,’’ Renteria said. “ ‘You guys came into our town and took two out of three from us. We are not that club.’ ’’
Renteria said players need to focus on the mindset stressed in spring training — approaches at the plate and preparation.
David Robertson hadn’t pitched in five days before getting the call in the ninth. But the Sox’ closer was going to pitch Sunday even if it wasn’t in the ninth, Renteria said.
“We talked before the game that regardless of the situation, I had to get him in,’’ Renteria said.
Pitchers Carlos Rodon (bursitis left biceps) and Jake Petricka (strained right back muscle) were in town to be evaluated as they continue to recover. Renteria said both have done moderate workouts but do not have timetables to begin work on the field.
Pitcher Jake Putnam, who left Saturday’s game with soreness in the back of his right elbow, is getting treatment and considered day-to-day. Melky Cabrera, who also left the game after jamming his left wrist attempting to make a catch, was in the lineup Sunday as the DH.
Part of the reason the bench was so excited Saturday after Jacob May got his first major-league hit wasn’t just the length of time it took to break the slump but the reaction to it.
“Everyone in the dugout was elated — and so were the fans,’’ Renteria said. “Even though we were losing, [the fans] had seen him grinding it out. It’s a big pick-me-up because we know they are paying attention. We loved it.’’
In Sox history, May’s 0-for-26 stretch to start a career was -exceeded only by the 0-for-32 rut by outfielder Randy Moore in 1927-28.
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