Adam Eaton wasn’t too keen on Wednesday afternoon to talk about the mistake he made late in the previous night’s blowout loss to the Oakland A’s.
Given that the White Sox trailed by 11 runs at the time, Eaton is correct that the ninth-inning play had minimal impact on the final outcome and wasn’t remotely the biggest issue in the loss.
But after he previously said he wasn’t sure about Eaton’s thought process when he easily was thrown out stretching a single into a double on Tuesday, White Sox manager Robin Ventura reiterated he merely wants his player to understand why the play still has importance.
“It's not the end of the world, but it's not the smartest play either,” Ventura said. “Part of it is just admitting that it wasn't a smart play. He knows that now, he knew it right when he did it. You're not going out there, especially because he's not going to be tying up the game anytime soon. You're saving outs. I think part of his thing is his aggressiveness and the way he plays. Sometimes he gets out in front of what's a smart play and right there, that wasn't a smart play.”
On the whole, the White Sox have given away too many outs this season, whether in the field or on the base paths. Eaton’s out was the 67th on the bases by the White Sox this season, the second-most in the majors behind Tampa Bay (68).
The league average is 49, according to baseball-reference.com.
Eaton, who is second on the club with a .350 on-base percentage, has 10 of those outs, though the majority occurred earlier this season. But given the team’s overall .309 OBP, which ranks 24th among the 30 teams, Ventura’s point is that every out should be considered critical. Last week, general manager Rick Hahn also said the team needs to improve its base running.
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Asked about the play in question, Eaton, who went 3-for-5 and is hitting .278/.350/.422 with 13 homers, said several times he’s focused on “today and to get better.”
Twice Eaton said “next question” before he acknowledged his error.
“You guys, I get that I made a bad play,” Eaton said. “Why are we going to shine a light on that when we were down how many runs at that point? I’m trying to make something happen. I saw how the play was coming about. I saw him kind of backhand it and kind of slow down. I was trying to make something happen.
“Again, next question. I think that’s kind of how the season went. I don’t understand why we are focusing on that. I get it’s a story for you guys but why.”
“I goofed up. It’s in the past. We are going to try to move forward.”