As usual, Konerko leading Sox's surge
June, 24, 2010
By Bruce Levine | ESPNChicago.com
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesPaul Konerko's 18th home run in the eighth inning proved to be the game-winner on Thursday.CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko once again was the hero for the Chicago White Sox as his two-run home run in the eighth inning proved to be the game-winner in a 2-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
How a team like the White Sox, who swept their third straight series, went from nine games under .500 on June 8 to three games over .500 in 14 games can only really be seized up by Konerko, the veteran team captain.
"We have some good older players in here," Konerko said. "We have guys like [Mark] Kotsay, [Mark] Buehrle, Andruw Jones, [Omar] Vizquel. These are guys that have the same approach everyday. When things were going bad you ask yourself is there something you're doing that you shouldn't be doing or something else that you should be doing. The answer is no, which it really was and you're kind of at peace with your work ethic. You just keep doing it. If you keep losing, you keep losing. You know, you chalk it up to just a tough season.
"Now the wins are piling up, but I guarantee you we'll hit another rough patch. We'll just have to respond better and cut it shorter the next time we begin a tailspin."
Konerko, who is batting .302 with 18 home runs and 54 RBIs, has been the one constant for the White Sox all season, staying in the top-five in home runs and RBIs throughout the season.
I asked Konerko how he keeps the same approach on a daily basis.
"You just try to go up to the plate with your mind clear," Konerko said. "You just try to envision good pitch to hit, bad pitch to hit. That's the goal. When you can get to that place as a hitter you can be competitive and hopefully things work out the right way. The majority of the year I have been able to get to that place."
That place has Konerko hitting .410 in his last 21 games with 22 RBIs. A trip to Anaheim for the All-Star Game seems inevitable.