Sox focused on hitting in clutch situations

September, 20, 2012
9/20/12
8:23
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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Alexei RamirezAP Photo/Charlie RiedelAlexei Ramirez and his teammates have Sox coaches focused on hitting in the clutch.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The lack of hitting with men in scoring position has Chicago White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto working overtime to come up with a solution.

The Sox were hitting.192 with men in scoring position over the last 13 games heading into action Thursday against the Kansas City Royals. That is a major concern for a team that scores almost 45 percent of its runs via the long ball.

"I don’t think there is any magic way to get guys through this time of year," Manto said before Thursday's game. "We try to keep it positive with these guys. They are the reason we have gotten this far.They know that at times they have come out of their zone, so we reinforce some positive things into the equation."

Manager Robin Ventura shook up the lineup Thursday, sitting Paul Konerko with a sore back. He benched Dayan Viciedo and moved Kevin Youkilis down from second to sixth in the batting order.

"You see what guys have done (in the past ), but you pay attention to what guys are doing," Ventura said. "You put out the lineup that you think can win."

Ventura did not deny he was upset with the Sox's 1-12 output with runners in scoring position on Wednesday evening.

"You get opportunities and don’t take advantage of it," he said. "You get a well pitched game by (Chris Sale) and you don’t take advantage of that.

"Okay, that was yesterday."

Even with their hitting woes the Sox have been in first place 111 games this season and every day since July 24th.

"We don’t do anything great," Adam Dunn said. "Sometimes we don’t hit or play a great game. What we are is a good team and that’s what works in being successful in baseball."

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jose Abreu
BA HR RBI R
.319 35 103 77
OTHER LEADERS
HRJ. Abreu 35
RBIJ. Abreu 103
RA. Ramirez 78
OPSJ. Abreu .975
WC. Sale 12
ERAC. Sale 2.20
SOC. Sale 198