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Thursday, September 20, 2012
Lack of clutch hitting dooms Sox

By Bruce Levine

Alexei Ramirez
Alexei Ramirez popped out with the bases loaded, helping strand three runners.
KANSAS CITY -- The numbers caught up to the White Sox on Wednesday evening as a team that has lived and died by the home run was unable to manufacture any runs or find a clutch hit.

Manager Robin Ventura’s ballclub was just 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position as they lost 3-0 to nemesis Bruce Chen. Of the 11 runners left on base, three came in the fourth when the Sox loaded the bases with no outs. Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez both popped out to the infield and Tyler Flowers struck out.

"It looked like we were running a pop-up drill for them," Ventura said. "This just wasn’t a good effort. You tip your hat to him because Bruce was getting out of any jam he had."

The home run-happy Sox have scored 45 percent of their runs via the long ball in 2012. Of more concern to the White Sox is their lack of timely hitting as of late. The team is in a funk over the last 13 games as they have hit under .200 with runners in scoring position.

"We have been relying on home runs for a period of time now," Alex Rios said. "We have to get better at scoring some runs with base hits and dong the little stuff."

Ventura was more forthright about his disappointing offense than he has been all season, though the defense was suspect as well. Viciedo misplayed a fly ball in the seventh that resulted in K.C. scoring two runs.

"That did not cost us the game," Ventura said. "Us not scoring cost us the game. When you get into double digits of leaving men on base that is the issue, not defense."

The Sox entered the game hitting .279 with men in scoring position, second only to the Colorado Rockies in that department. Expect some extra batting practice for the Sox on Thursday and some direct comments from Ventura and hitting coach Jeff Manto on the overall team approach.