Feeling Minnesota: White Sox are where a team on a cold streak probably belongs
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MINNEAPOLIS — White Sox manager Rick Renteria isn’t certain if it’ll be Reynaldo Lopez or Miguel Gonzalez who takes the mound Saturday afternoon against the Twins. At least, Renteria didn’t have a ready answer after Friday’s game, which Lopez was scheduled to start, was postponed amid a mix of rain, snow and — look out below — hail.
No big deal. We’ll just wait to find out.
Normally, we’d feel obliged to stay hot on the trail of such a developing news story. But something about a forecast promising piles of snow by early morning and gametime temperatures in the 20s made any immediate decisions about the Sox rotation seem rather moot.
“We are planning on coming into a normal-routine day,” Renteria said. “Kind of anticipating there might be some elements involved, especially since the weather is supposed to take effect a little later. We’ll probably move everything into the [indoor batting] cage to start and then go from there. We’ll just determine what we do once they let us know what’s happening.”
Translation: Maybe we’ll get to play baseball on Sunday?
Whenever the Sox take the field again, they’ll get to the business of trying to end a cold stretch of eight losses in 10 games. A good place to start would be improving their performance with runners in scoring position. Over the last six games, they are an awful 3-for-47 (.064) in those situations.
There are numerous unflattering stats that can be cherry-picked when detailing the Sox’ poor start. For example: Heading into Friday, they’d grounded into a major league-high 13 double plays. But it is the overall “RISP” trend that really jumps out.
“It’s baseball. Sometimes that happens,” right fielder Avisail Garcia said. “We’ve just got to keep working to get hits. It’s going to work. It’s going to get better.”
Shortstop Tim Anderson addressed the topic with a dismissive wave of his hand.
“We’re knocking at the door,” he said. “As bad as it looks, it’s not bad. We still play with a lot of excitement and have fun. We just have to take those things and learn from them and continue to push.”
The Sox also are batting only .150 — worst in the American League — with a runner at third base and less than two outs. They’ve done a decent job of putting the ball in play, striking out only three times in 26 plate appearances, but the run-scoring results have been less than desired.
“It’s something in batting practice and hitting meetings that we talk about, with approaches with guys on third and not trying to do too much or whatever,” third baseman Matt Davidson said. “It’s something that really good teams do well, and that’s something that we want to do well, too. We did it the first couple of games, and we’ve got to get back to it.”
A shutout loss in the opening game of this series probably was the last thing the Sox needed, although their hitting with runners in scoring position hardly was an issue — they had only one such chance all night. Assuming the Sox escape this nasty weather with their lives, they’re just plain going to have to get a lot better at getting them on and getting them in.
“I try to make sure that we keep perspective into the picture,” Renteria said, “and the only way you can do that is to make sure that they see that I’m not the one who’s going to panic. I’m not the one who’s going through a process of, ‘Oh, no, what’s going on next?’ ”