MINNEAPOLIS -- Robin Ventura has decided the White Sox offense could use a little variety.
With his offense in the bottom third of the American League in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, the White Sox manager moved Alexei Ramirez up into the second spot on Thursday night and dropped everyone else down a slot. A notoriously slow starter, Ramirez -- who mostly has batted sixth or seventh in 2015 -- enters a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins with a .194/.235/.274 slash line and nine RBIs in 68 plate appearances.
“It hasn’t really jelled just yet,” Ventura said. “So something to mix it up. It’s not a major change. Kind of mix it up. Alexei has done well in the past batting second, you try to give him a jumpstart in there at the top of the lineup and see what happens.”
Ramirez has batted second 361 times, including 133 times the previous two seasons. He’s hit more in the two-hole than anywhere else in his career and believes he knows how to handle himself. He also expects to see better pitches now that he’s hitting in front of Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu, the team’s hottest hitters so far this season.
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“I have to take more pitches, try to get on base and give the guys an opportunity to bat with men on base,” Ramirez said through an interpreter. “I feel good in that spot because I have the opportunity to see more good pitches, more fastballs and more pitches to hit and I think that’s good for me and also good for the team.”
The offense is in desperate need of a jolt, the kind you might get from slamming a Red Bull. Through 18 games, the White Sox are averaging 3.44 runs per game despite the additions of Cabrera and Adam LaRoche. There could be any number of reasons from excess days off to cold weather to Ramirez and LaRoche both have poor April track records.
But there’s no time for excuses, Ventura said.
“We’ve kind of sputtered offensively and being inconsistent,” Ventura said. “For some reason it takes a while for some guys to get going. At this point it doesn’t matter. You have to find a way to kind of keep going and find something that works and go with it.”
Ramirez has a .277/.318/.400 line in the No. 2 spot and has stolen 35 bases. But his aggressive style and ability to put the ball in play has also led to him grounding into 49 double plays.