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Sox preseason lineup projections go awry

2013-07-28T17:00:00Z 2013-07-29T12:51:03Z Sox preseason lineup projections go awryGeorge Castle Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
July 28, 2013 5:00 pm  • 

CHICAGO | The projections of late January often fall far by the wayside six months later, so much so they’re a slap in the face to the team making them.

So it’s been for the collapsing White Sox, who are 16-38 since May 27. General manager Rick Hahn’s mid-winter forecast of offensive improvement, including in the crucial on-base percentage and runners-in-scoring position categories, has imploded in management’s face.

“We think there’s room for growth internally,” Hahn said at SoxFest. “Look, Alexei Ramirez is a couple of years removed from being a Silver Slugger shortstop. We certainly think there’s offensive upside there.

“We think (Jeff) Keppinger’s going to help (OBP) as well. We think Tyler (Flowers) going to get on base at a decent clip additionally.”

Before Sunday’s 4-2, 12th-inning loss to the Kansas City Royals, manager Robin Ventura said the brass’ cold-weather analysis made sense then.

“I think it was logical at the time,” Ventura said. “Again, you can’t predict everything, where you’re at right now. That’s why he’s making decisions for where we’re at right now, not what he thought in spring training. He’s evaluating it right now of what’s actually transpired.

“But it’s like the (erring) defense. I wouldn’t have seen that in spring training, either.”

Ventura appeared to look at the lineup’s performance through most of 2012, not the impotent final month when the Sox coughed up a three-game first-place lead through poor clutch hitting. He figured a repeat of the best of ’12 would have sufficed this season.

“It could have stayed the same,” Ventura said. “It didn’t necessarily have to improve, but it could have stayed the same. That’s part of what you see and what you would expect in the norm of them playing. I don’t think this (season) is the norm.”

The one exception is second baseman Gordon Beckham, a .314 hitter who made improvements in his swing near the end of 2012.

“For me, that’s really where he was last year,” Ventura said. “It’s just now you’re not starting yourself in a hole where he did last year. Injuries aside, this is pretty much where you’d expect him to be. In the future he’s probably going to have a little more power and RBI numbers.”

Sox captain Paul Konerko was more philosophical about the flow of a season gone totally wrong.

“It hasn’t been really been anything you can say has gone exactly how we thought it would go this year,” Konerko said. “Sometimes you’re that team. Right now we’ve been that team all year. That doesn’t mean we have to be like that the next two months. But that’s the way it’s been up ‘till now.

“It is difficult, but that’s why it’s not easy being a big-league ballplayer. That’s why there’s many guys who don’t make it. It’s a grind. You just keep doing it. This is what we do. We chose to do this. It doesn’t matter whether it’s hard or easy or whatever. It is what we do and that’s how it works.”

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