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Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Homers keying White Sox's scoring

By Bruce Levine

AJ Pierzynski
The bulk of the White Sox's runs are coming on home runs. Will that be a problem come fall?

CHICAGO -- In 2004, the White Sox set a franchise record with 246 home runs. However, the team missed the playoffs and won just 80 games under first-year manager Ozzie Guillen.

After that season, Guillen convinced general manager Kenny Williams to dump out of the home run mentality and add some small ball aspects to the offense. That December, Williams pulled off a straight trade that put the go-go back into the Sox’s offensive game plan by moving Carlos Lee to the Brewers for speedy leadoff man Scott Podsednik.

An ability to manufacture runs with speed on the bases was one major reason the 2005 team won the World Series. It also leads to this question: Are the 2012 Sox too dependent on the home run for scoring production.

“I think we can hit some homers, but it’s different than some of the other teams I have been on,” Paul Konerko said. “We have won enough games where we did not hit a home run to make me think we can continue to win those games. It is kind of the line that you draw. I think this team is on the good side of that line, so we can win games and manufacture runs while shutting down the opposing team with a good bullpen and defense.”

The White Sox have scored 45 percent of their runs via the long ball. That ranks them third in baseball in that category – they are behind the Yankees who are No. 1, having scored more than 50 percent of their runs on homers. The Sox also rank second in baseball in total home runs (the Yanks are first).

“You just need to balance it out,” said manager Robin Ventura. “Sometimes, I think we get a bit of a reliance on hitting home runs. So (we need) more of an approach to be able to score in other ways. Home runs are great, but if you’re going to win in September, you are going to have to score runs in other ways.”

It’s worth pointing out the White Sox will always have to be built around home runs to some extent due to the friendly dimensions of U.S Cellular Field. The Sox’s ballpark has yielded 171 home runs -- the fourth highest total in baseball.