TORONTO — After it looked as if they had a breakthrough on the road, White Sox hitters struggled at home last week.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he wants to shake things up a little and his lineup for Monday night’s series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays would suggest that. Even though the White Sox are facing right-hander Drew Hutchinson, Ventura inserted Gordon Beckham into the lineup, hitting second and playing third base. Catcher Geovany Soto and second baseman Emilio Bonifacio are also starting for the White Sox, who had a collective .196/.252/.290 slash line with four home runs and 15 runs scored during their seven-game homestand. With Beckham hitting second, everyone slides down one spot.
“You’re trying to mix it, even Bonnie being in there,” Ventura said. “Defensively it helps you out as well. We’re a little bit stronger defensively with him in there.
“We haven’t hit on all cylinders, by any means. We haven’t had one guy, completely hot to carry us for a while. When that happens, you’ve got to be able to string together hits, put together an inning, keep the line moving, and it hasn’t been that consistent.”
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For 14 games, the White Sox looked as if they finally had it figured out. The team averaged 4.9 runs per contest and went 9-5 during that stretch. But the team has cooled off and it’s not just one batter struggling. Tyler Flowers is hitting .202, Melky Cabrera has three extra-base hits in 179 plate appearances, Adam LaRoche has a .346 slugging percentage, Adam Eaton’s on-base percentage is .288 and Alexei Ramirez has a .252/.269/.358 slash line.
“To sit there and pin it on one guy, it’s the whole lineup that has to do it, and at this point it hasn’t clicked yet,” Ventura said. “You get spurts of it. You get a game or two or the last road trip we were on, you were seeing more of getting a hit when you need it, things like that. The last game we won, the execution in the eighth inning was good. You get a walk, base hit to right, get first and third and a sac fly. You’re looking for more of that consistently.”