The White Sox put their power game on hold last night and did something they were very good at when they went on two extended winning streaks earlier this season; manufacturing runs.
The Sox sent seven batters to the plate and scored three runs on base hits, sacrifices and a wild pitch in the 5th inning last night. The three runs were good enough for Jose Quintana to get his fifth win of the season as he held the Blue Jays to just two runs over 6-2/3 innings.
If Quintana had three runs in six other starts this season he would be 11-2 right now, versus 5-2. Run support for Quintana has been anemic this season, yet he’s pitched effectively in 10 of his 14 starts this season allowing three runs or less. Nine of the 10 starts were two runs or less, and in three of them he allowed no runs over eight shut out innings. His ERA resides at 2.77 for his 14 starts this season and he’s averaged 7-innings a start.
The fact that the Sox scored without hitting the long ball helps the team get out of a mental cycle and approach at the plate. When you keep winning ballgames because of homers, hitters tend to try to pull the ball every at bat, and while homers are fun to watch and allow you to score quickly, RBIs is what it’s all about. I wouldn’t care if all the Sox hitters at 5 homers each, but had 15 more RBIs each at this point.
Sure, I did enjoy Adam Dunn’s two shots on Monday night, but that was it for the Sox and they lost 3-2 in extra innings to the Blue Jays despite having opportunities to drive in runs. While it’s good to have the mentality that you can hit a homer every time at bat, it’s bad to try to do it every time. Everyone on the Sox should watch film on Paul Konerko when he’s going well. He hits more opposite field base hits than anyone. Watch film on Miguel Cabrera, this kid understands the game of hitting at a fairly young age. He’s fun to watch when he’s not playing the Sox.
The point is as a hitter you need to pick your spots unless you have designated role like Dunn, who’s getting paid to hit homers. Everyone else on the Sox should focus on advancing runners with no outs and just driving in runs anyway possible. That was the focus on Tuesday night, and let’s hope it stays that way the remainder of the season.