CHICAGO – Their division lead chipped away, the pressure is mounting for the White Sox.
The Sox carried a five-game losing streak into Monday’s series opener against Cleveland to kick off a seven-game homestand, their final of the regular season. They haven’t performed well under pressure lately, going 3 for 42 (.071 average) with runners in scoring position to leave 40 on base in their past six games entering the homestand.
Even in their 5-4 comeback win against the Indians, they finished 2 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
“You can say relax and everything else, but when you’re the one at the plate, it becomes different,” manager Robin Ventura said. “Hopefully that changes. But I understand it. It’s one of those where everybody wants to do well. You want to be the guy knocking guys in, you want to be that person. But they’re the ones that need to relax.”
Positive vibes: For all of the Sox’s struggles the past week, Ventura isn’t breaking out any big speeches to rally the troops.
Ventura prefers addressing any issues, which at this point have been mainly offensive, behind closed doors. He clarified that he does talk to the team regularly but prefers to not call out anyone in front of the entire clubhouse.
“In talking to them, I don’t want to make it a big thing, put a sign on the door that we’re having a session,” Ventura said. “There are ways to talk with somebody without having to call then in the office all the time. We talk to them all the time, whether it’s on the field, in the dugout, on the plane. There are ways to do it.”
The Sox shouldn’t need any big speeches with Cleveland in town. The Indians own the worst record in the American League, but the Sox are determined to avoid overlooking their beleaguered opponent.
“Yeah, these three games are going to be as tough as any three games we’ve played, just for that fact alone,” Adam Dunn said. “They know they are going home and they would like nothing more to see us go home and I’ve been in that situation. This is their playoff.”
Rest for Peavy: The Sox may turn to a spot starter for Wednesday’s series finale versus the Indians.
Ventura said they are considering pushing back Jake Peavy one day so he can start Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays. A final decision has yet to be made, but lefty Hector Santiago could get the call Wednesday.
Peavy, who has thrown 203 2/3 innings this season which are the most since his 2007 Cy Young season, has put together an average September. He’s 2-2 this month with a 4.37 ERA.