General Manager Rick Hahn has stated that this 2013 White Sox team is built on pitching and defense. He feels that the White Sox can contend for the Central division with good pitching and solid defense. While the White Sox may not have a offense as good as Detroit, they do have a better pitching staff. However, early defensive miscues by the Sox need to stop.
In 2012, the White Sox were the best defensive team in baseball with a .988 fielding percentage. The Sox as team committed 70 errors. Many analysts contribute this to manager Robin Ventura making his players take infield before each game, which is a lost art. In 6 games in the 2013 season, the White Sox have already committed 7 errors and have one of the lowest fielding percentages at .971. The White Sox cannot afford to play sloppy defense.
Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez collided in left field in the second game of the year on routine fly ball. Both players are from Cuba, so it's not a language barrier issue. Ramirez, who tends to drift far into the outfield, was never called off by Viciedo. It was apparent Viciedo was so focused on making the catch he never communicated with Ramirez. This almost led to another error a few games later when Viciedo seemed tentative on similar play to avoid a collision.
Dewayne Wise came into the same game as a defensive replacement for Viciedo and had a ball go off his glove. Wise, using his glove to shield his face, lost the ball as it came down. Alejandro De Aza, who was off to a slow start, took his struggles at the plate to the field. He misplayed a ball due to lack of effort.
There also have been errors due to plain mental lapses. Jose Quintana decided to use his bare hand while covering first base on a play that clearly required him to use his glove. Gordon Beckham had a horrible throw to Adam Dunn at first base on a routine ground ball causing a error. Tyler Flowers did not cause a error, but could of caused a injury to Adam Dunn on a fly ball that he should of clearly let Dunn take care off. So what does all this mean?
Hopefully, it was just one bad week defensively for the White Sox. The Sox can't afford to give opponents extra outs if they hope to win. Also, with the offense not clicking early in April, the Sox are going to be in a lot of close games. Players not making the routine plays will be unacceptable. I firmly believe manager Robin Ventura and his coaching staff will address this issue and nip it. Ventura understands the importance of defense and is not going to accept sloppy play.
Communication and baseball smarts will get the White Sox back into a top fielding team. Talking to each other, making the routine play, and understanding the situation will be the difference.
Pitching and defense.
That's the concept the team was built on. Now, we have to wait and see if they live up to it.
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