By Bruce Levine-
(CBS) — A sample size of the 2014 White Sox offense shows the polar opposite of the inept 2013 squad that finished 29th in runs scored.
After 27 games, the Sox have scored 150 runs for an average of 5.6 runs per-game. The Sox are on pace to score over 800 runs this season.
New hitting coach Todd Steverson appears to be getting his message across to the rank and file, who mostly failed under former batting instructor Jeff Manto. To his credit, Manto did his best to sell Dayan Viciedo and Tyler Flowers on using the whole field in their approaches. Steverson, a complete newcomer to the organization, has fit in with the coaches and players from the first hitter’s mini-camp last winter.
“Hitting is about a one-on-one competition every day,” the team’s batting instructor said. “If you go up there with a confident idea that you are ready to compete against that pitcher you have a great chance. It is not about all the outside things, it is about what you are doing when you get in that box.”
The addition of Adam Eaton and Jose Abreu are the only major changes in the offense. Last year’s team ended the 2013 season finishing behind every National League team in runs scored except Miami. Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn are rotating in the DH role.
“We had a saying here in 2012 about concentrating on that day and that game,” said Konerko. “We are kind of back to that. The message is do your work and control what you can control to help the team win that day.”
It is difficult to imagine the Sox winning their division with run production alone. White Sox pitching has been a train wreck in the early going. They have featured a makeshift bullpen and three-fifths of the rotation are in the minors or out with injuries.
“Our goal is not to win 7-5 every night,” said GM Rick Hahn. “We will take the ‘W’, don’t get me wrong, but we need to get the pitching staff back to an area that may not be like last year but meeting expectations.”
Scoring 800 runs means a team has competed in just about every game. It also usually means more than a couple of players had their usual good offensive numbers or better.
“Can we score 800 runs? I am not going to put a number out there but if we stay together and execute what we are supposed to do, we can surpass a lot of expectations,” said Steverson.
The Sox GM was not afraid of looking at the 800 number.
“We are on pace for it,” Hahn said. “I would be thrilled getting to get to that level considering where we were last year. That was a lofty goal coming into the season, but it certainly looks attainable now.”