Monday, May 7, 2012
Streaking/Slumping: Ramirez sinking
By Bruce Levine
Their defense remains stellar, but Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez had contrasting weeks at the plate.
1. Adam Dunn, DH/1B: Game-winning home runs and big hits have been a part of the White Sox slugger’s game recently. Dunn told ESPNChicago.com that getting use to a DH routine has been key to his early season return to form. In the White Sox’s last seven games, Dunn is hitting .333 with 5 home runs and 9 RBIs. Dunn, who is batting .250 with nine home runs and 23 RBIs heading into Monday’s games, led all major league batters in home runs last week and had a game-winning blast off Tigers closer Jose Valverde on Saturday.
2. Gordon Beckham, 2B: Despite striking out with the tying and go-ahead runs on base to end Sunday’s loss to Detroit, Beckham is coming off his best week of hitting this season. Beckham came out of his season long slump with eight hits, batting .350 with 2 home runs and 5 RBIs in his past seven games. Hitting coach Jeff Manto has worked with Beckham, who is batting .215 on the season, on standing more erect at the plate thus avoiding a hitch from crouching too often. Beckham’s defense remains Gold Glove-caliber.
1. Alexei Ramirez, SS: Ramirez is in a funk at the plate, going 2 for his last 16, dropping him to .196 on the season. The power numbers have also disappeared for Ramirez, who has just four extra-base hits in 112 at-bats. Ramirez is next to last in baseball with a sorry .476 OPS, including a .217 on-base percentage. But like his double-play partner Beckham, Ramirez’s defense is stellar.
2. Matt Thornton, RP: A tough week for the usually dependable Sox set-up man/closer, who posted a 15.43 ERA in his last three outings and a 2.14 WHIP. Thornton’s blown save and loss on Friday night against the Tigers was a product of a bullpen whose roles remain undefined with Chris Sale moving from the rotation to closer. Thornton is one of the top set-up men in the game, and he should remain in that role only.