Ventura stands by slumping youngsters
CHICAGO -- The White Sox started three regulars who were hitting under .200 and one hitting .208 on Tuesday night against defending AL Central champion Detroit Tigers.
The coaching staff sounds uncertain when trying to evaluate the situation. The struggling quartet of Alexei Ramirez, Dayan Viciedo, Gordon Beckham and Brent Morel is obviously hurting the team. But is this an early-season glitch in the offense or a trend of what to expect from these young players?
“You try to have patience with them because this is a mental as well as physical grind,” Ventura said.
The manager and his coaching staff go over their options while supporting hitting coach Jeff Manto on a daily basis.
“Patience is one way (to help young hitters),” Ventura said. “Sometimes you give them a kick, but again it’s not always that easy. I realize how tough it is.
Morel, Viciedo and Beckham are hitting a combined .195 with 5 home runs and 18 RBIs in 307 at bats.
At some point you have to also look at the 33 runs they have scored in 35 games as further indication of how futile the offense has been. Complicating this situation is the sudden flop of Ramirez, who is hitting .156 over the past 22 games (14-90).
“For them they have to realize that they can’t get it back in one day,” Ventura said. “It’s a consistent thing of day in and day out of coming in here having the proper attitude coming in here working at it and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Going into action on Tuesday the Sox were hitting .238 as a team -- the third worst average in the American league.
Chicago has been buoyed by relatively solid pitching. With that, the White Sox sit just two and a half games out of first place as both the Indians and the Tigers struggle to stay above the 500 mark.
“Most of us have played, so we get what (the hitters) are going through,” Ventura said. “I get that but they can’t lose their confidence.”
The White Sox have benefitted from quality contributions by Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn and, until a recent slump, A.J. Pierzynski. All this main group of veterans need is a little help from their younger teammates.