White Sox coach Jeff Manto feeling struggling hitters’ pain
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN email@example.com September 23, 2012 11:06PM
INDIANS AT SOX
The facts: 7:10, CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.
The starters: Zach McAllister (5-8, 4.31 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (17-7, 2.82).
The rest of the series
Tuesday: 1:10 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM. Corey Kluber (1-4, 5.36) vs. Francisco Liriano (6-11, 5.24).
Wednesday: 7:10 p.m., Ch. 26, 670-AM, 97.5-FM. Justin Masterson (11-15, 4.97) vs. Jake Peavy (11-12, 3.40).
Updated: October 25, 2012 6:21AM
ANAHEIM, Calif. — When Jeff Manto’s guys suffer, he suffers right alongside them.
The White Sox’ first-year hitting coach has had a good year, considering the team’s place in the standings (first), in runs (fifth in the American League) and in home runs (second). But this last week has been agonizing.
“You care so much,’’ Manto said. “You get to the point where you really, sincerely care about these players. You care about their well-being. You know if they aren’t doing well, they aren’t sleeping at night. And so it bothers us all.’’
Every at-bat is magnified now with a division title at stake and 10 games to play, especially with runners in scoring position. A team strength through August, the Sox’ RISP average over the last 16 games was .179 when Alex Rios batted with the bases loaded and one out in the first inning Sunday against Angels ace Jered Weaver.
Rios, who was 30-for-64 with RISP with less than two outs, fought through an 11-pitch at-bat before striking out before A.J. Pierzynski grounded sharply to short to end a tension-filled first inning.
“The pressure is there; it does exist,’’ Manto said. “It’s something you have to deal with. That’s why we have the players we do because these guys have done it in the past. It’s a matter of trusting themselves.’’
The Sox were 0-for-5 with RISP. Dayan Viciedo drove in Pierzynski with a sacrifice fly.
Level of resistance
Bounce-back is a Sox catchphrase, from the Adam Dunn, Jake Peavy, Rios comebacks from 2011 to this team’s resiliency after smallish losing streaks and tough losses.
Manager Robin Ventura could go for another one now.
“We’ve had points of the season where we’ve been through things like this, and we’ve responded and bounced back,’’ Ventura said. “That’s what you’d expect. It seems like we go on a roll after we’ve gone through the rough patch.
“It’s the guys. They continue to come in with a great attitude. It’s part of the game. That’s what makes it long and hard and frustrating and fun all at the same time.’’
Potential wild-card and Division Series tickets remain on sale at whitesox.com and by phone at 866-SOX-GAME. The limit is six per sale. Prices: lower box $65; lower reserved/bleachers/upper deck box $60; upper deck reserved $45.
The Sox are offering ticket specials on their final homestand that begins with a Value Monday against the Cleveland Indians.
The team must average about 26,500 fans to reach the 2 million mark for the eighth consecutive season. The Sox’ average is 24,520.
Extra day for Peavy?
Peavy, who made his 30th start Friday and passed 200 innings for the first time since 2007, is scheduled Wednesday, but it’s possible he’ll get an extra day and open the Tampa Bay Rays series on Thursday.