May has been a balm to Gordon Beckham’s BA
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org May 12, 2012 11:28PM
Jeff Francoeur reaches first on an error by Gordon Beckham that allowed a run to score. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Royals at sox
The facts: 1:10 p.m., CSN,
The pitchers: Danny Duffy (2-2, 4.00 ERA) vs. Philip Humber (1-2, 6.83).
Updated: June 14, 2012 8:34AM
Since he was moved to the second spot in the batting order five games ago, Gordon Beckham is hitting .211 (4-for-19) with two RBI. But his turnaround started as April turned to May.
Beckham is hitting .302 this month (13-for-43) with seven RBI to lift his average from .153 to .216.
“I’m comfortable hitting there,” Beckham said. “I’ve hit there before. I’m just happy to be doing better.’’
Beckham said pitchers don’t necessarily work differently to the No. 2 hitter than to a No. 8 or 9 hitter, especially in the American League with no pitcher batting.
“With a guy on first [Friday], I got nothing but sliders with Adam [Dunn] hitting behind me,’’ he said. “It’s just nice to be at the top of the order to set the table for the big boys.’’
Beckham said he has gradually worked his way back to being more comfortable at the plate.
“I just ended up coming around and got where I wanted to be and found a good feeling,’’ he said. “I try to keep my work the same to keep that feeling going.
“To be honest, the fact I started hitting was because I stopped looking at video. Sometimes you get too in love with it and forget to do what’s natural.’’
Since his perfect game
April 21 at Seattle, Philip Humber has become a father and mini-celebrity. But he is also winless in three starts since with 20 runs allowed in 13 1/3 innings (13.50 ERA). He makes his sixth start of the season Sunday at 1-2 with a 6.83 ERA overall.
Art of relaxation
Dunn started last season with an emergency appendectomy, missing only six games before going on to his poorest major league season. This year is starting out more like the years of old for Dunn.
“A lot of it is just kind of free thinking instead of caring about results,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s been very good at putting last year behind him and just playing baseball. He’s not in the mode of worrying about last year or trying to outdo last year or anything like that. It’s more of playing the game. He makes it pretty simple. It’s not always easy for a lot of people to do, but he’s been great at just making it simple for himself.”
Sox pitchers have started taking batting practice in anticipation of the start of interleague play next week when the Sox travel to Wrigley Field to play the Cubs. The Sox also will travel in June to St. Louis and Los Angeles, where there will be no designated hitter. They will host the Cubs, Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers in June as well.
Jesse Crain will make another rehab start Sunday for Class AAA Charlotte and could be activated afterward. “We’ll see what he does before we decide,’’ Ventura said.
◆ Seven players on the Sox will be among players from every team using pink bats Sunday as part of Major League Baseball’s annual Mother’s Day breast-cancer-awareness campaign. The bats will then be autographed and auctioned to benefit White Sox Charities.