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Friday, September 21, 2012
Recently, Sox guilty of trying too hard

By Bruce Levine

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- After a couple of bad losses to the Kansas City Royals, Robin Ventura is looking for a different focus from his Chicago White Sox.

The anxious Sox were all about trying to do too much in their last two games. Bad baserunning decisions by Alexei Ramirez and Alex Rios cost the team potential runs that could have turned Thursday’s loss into a win.

“I don’t know if the games change,” Ventura said. “What you do is try to put that out of your mind. If you get caught up in (big-game thinking) your mind can start thinking about other things besides the game.”

Ventura’s subtle approach can be direct when he is upset with the players’ approach to these crucial September games.

“It doesn’t do you any good to think about Sunday’s game on Friday,” Ventura said. “Unless you want to lose on Friday, that is. I don’t think things are that hard now because they realize the games are important so you have to be focused on what you are doing. It is fun to play the game that night instead of thinking ahead.”

That was the manager’s message to a few of his players who have been pressing.

“No one is doing things on purpose,” Ventura said. “Sometimes guys are trying to do more than you need to do.”

Dewayne Wise made a bad baserunning decision on Monday, costing the Sox a run by being aggressive in a situation that called for caution. Even an experienced player like Wise can outthink situations when big games are on the line, as he did by trying to advance on a sacrifice fly before Gordon Beckham could do the same from third base.

“When you try to do too much, that is when you get in trouble,” Wise said. “That is when you make silly mistakes -- mistakes that you normally would not make. With 12 or 13 games left, guys have to be themselves, just let the next guy pick you up. That is how we got to this point, playing the right way.”

It can be pointed out that the manager delivered that message one-on-one to numerous players prior to this weekend’s series in Anaheim.