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Hoge: Reliance On Home Runs Making Life Harder For White Sox

Paul Konerko. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Paul Konerko. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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By Adam Hoge-

U.S. CELLULAR FIELD (CBS) Before Tuesday’s game against the Indians, White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto had a premonition.

“I think we’re going to see a different approach to hitting today,” he said. “I think it will be a lot more relaxed than it was in the past, knowing that we can do it. And I think Adam (Dunn) took a lot of stress off a lot of people.”

Manto was of course referring to Dunn’s three-run home run in the eighth inning Monday night that bailed the White Sox out of another brutal hitting night.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t at all the case Tuesday as the White Sox lost 4-3 to the Indians and watching their lead over the Tigers shrink back to half a game.

Ventura too said before the game that “everyone can take a deep breath and just play,” calling Dunn’s home run “a big one.”

But Tuesday, the White Sox were right back where they have been for most of September, going 0-for-3 in scoring position, including Gordon Beckham’s groundout with the winning run on first base in the ninth inning.

While Dunn’s blast Monday night was a big one — both for him personally and the team — it didn’t really help a growing trend with the White Sox this season: they depend on the home run too much. Sure, it was encouraging to see someone get an enormous hit with runners on base, but it was just one pitch — an 0-2 softball right down the middle of the plate. That’s a pitch Dunn should almost never miss.

And there were the White Sox again Tuesday, relying on home runs.

Three runs scored on three solo home runs.

In fact, seven of the right runs the White Sox have scoring in this series have come off home runs.

If there’s anything to be encouraged about it’s that one of the solo shots came from Paul Konerko, who got his average back to .301 after it briefly slipped below the .300 mark in the middle of the game. The other two home runs were back-to-back shots in the fifth by A.J. Pierzynski and Dayan Viciedo.

At this point, there’s not much evidence to suggest the home run trend is going to change in the final eight games of the season. The White Sox now have 202 homers on the season. They’ll need to continue to pad that total if they want to win the division.

And even then, it’s a crap shoot as to whether there will be runners on base.

adam hoge 2012 small1 Hoge: Reliance On Home Runs Making Life Harder For White Sox

Adam Hoge

Adam is the Sports Editor for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the Bears, White Sox and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.