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The middle of the order has been hurt by the slow start of major offseason acquisition Adam Dunn, who got a four-year $56 million contract. He was sidelined after an appendectomy and as he tries to adjust to both a new league and a new role as a hit-and-sit DH, he has batted only .153 with 33 strikeouts and three homers in 25 games.
Alex Rios had three hits Wednesday but is still hitting only .184. New starting third baseman Brent Morel is hitting .187 and second baseman Gordon Beckham just .208.
The White Sox have not made any roster changes, though bringing up young slugger Dayan Viciedo is one option.
“It’s not one of those things where a rah-rah speech is going to make it happen or anything,” said Konerko, the team captain who signed a three-year deal worth $37.5 million in the offseason. “Every guy has to know what he is doing up there and it’s a different answer for every guy. You have to go home and kind of hold court with yourself and know if you are going about it right and competing the right way.
“If you are and it’s just not happening, that’s baseball,” he added. “You just keep trying and keep playing and keep getting after it.”
The White Sox are buoyed to a certain extent by what happened last season. Trailing by 9 1/2 games on June 8 and nine games under .500, they took off, winning 25 of their next 30 before the All-Star break. It was a run as remarkable as this current slide seems to be.
“We saw this last year and kind of went through the same thing,” Konerko said.
“All you can hope is that it’s not quite as long, but believe me everybody is doing their best to not let it go any further,” he said. “It’s a contagious thing _ when it gets going in either direction _ and one of these days, it’s just going to turn.”
Right now, the White Sox would just like to climb back to .500.
Matt Thornton, who was to be the closer after the departure of Bobby Jenks, has four blown saves in as many chances. And Chris Sale, who was a first-round draft pick last June and then came up quickly and blew hitters away with his 100 mph fastball, has struggled with a 7.15 ERA in 11 appearances.
Starting pitching has been mostly decent, even with Jake Peavy still on the disabled list and rehabbing after surgery for a detached muscle behind his shoulder. John Danks, a 15-game winner a year ago, has pitched better than his 0-5 record.
But there’s pressure for any pitcher when his team can’t score. The White Sox are batting only .236 as a team and averaging about 3.8 runs per game.
“A good team does it once and plays the rest of the season the right way,” Guillen said. “It can be in the middle, it came be in the end, it can be in the beginning. Everybody has to go through it. It’s the one who handles it the best. We’ll see how we are going to handle it.”
By David Keene
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