On Sept. 18, the Chicago White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 3-2. How did they accomplish this? They did it by hitting three solo home runs. The Sox looked like they were on the verge of a major winning streak, one that would give them breathing room and distance themselves from the Detroit Tigers. The very next day, the Sox had nine hits against the Royals, which included having the bases loaded. What happened? The Sox lost to the Royals 3-0.
It seems like the Sox are relying only on the home run to get their runs–it’s feast or famine lately with them. If the power is out, the Sox don’t score and they don’t win. The Sox are one of the best defensive teams in all of baseball, but they are building a reputation of not having timely hitting with runners in scoring position.
The Sox are No. 2 in the MLB for home runs and while there is nothing wrong with that entirely, they need to do more. They are simply not playing fundamentally sound baseball right now. Now, I’m not one to sit and say that the Sox should only play small ball, but as I watched as the Sox had bases loaded against Bruce Chen and the Royals end up with two pop outs and not get any runs across, I got concerned.
Players will say they aren’t trying to hit home runs yet, but I disagree. It looks to me like the Sox are trying to hit home runs over and over again. Maybe this is the problem. Did anyone tell the Sox that they can’t win the majority of baseball games based entirely on the home run? This certainly isn’t going to win the Sox the division title. In fact, to win the division they need to have a combination of hitting the timely home run, meaning not just hitting solo shots. The Sox need to start driving runners in and to stop leaving so many men on base and in scoring position. To have a deep run in the playoffs, the Sox really need to have more than just pure power.
Simply hitting home runs didn’t work for the Texas Rangers all those years when they were hitting the ball out of the park. The Rangers had to get pitching and timely hitting to become a real threat in the American League. The Sox have the pitching, they have the fielding and they have the managing of even keeled Robin Ventura. However, they won’t go far into the playoffs if they are just relying on pure power.
I guess you can call me old fashioned: while I love watching home runs because chicks dig the longball, I would rather sit and watch a 2-1 game based on dynamite defense and great pitching. I know the Sox can do it, but the question remains do they have time to realize it themselves? Time will tell.