White Sox work fundamentals before 4-2 victory over Twins
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org May 14, 2013 9:59PM
Updated: May 14, 2013 11:08PM
MINNEAPOLIS — On top of being just plain bad, the White Sox had to cope with bad luck, bad umpiring and bad equipment Tuesday.
There wasn’t much they could do about those things, but they could do something about their bad defensive play. That’s why manager Robin Ventura and his staff called for a practice five hours before the start of the Sox’ 4-2 victory against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Under a hot sun and unseasonable 90-degree temperatures, infielders, outfielders, catchers and pitchers spent about 45 minutes working on the basics of catching balls and being in the right place. If it felt like spring training, well, that’s what Ventura had in mind.
‘‘They have to realize what’s important,’’ said Ventura, who finally had enough after watching a comedy of mental errors in a 10-3 drubbing Monday. ‘‘It can happen again. So you keep working on it till you get it right.’’
It seemed to have a positive effect. The Sox were charged with their 30th error, but it came on a throw by shortstop Alexei Ramirez that broke the webbing of Adam Dunn’s first baseman’s mitt in the sixth inning. Right fielder Alex Rios made a strong throw home attempting to cut down Justin Morneau on a single by Oswaldo Arcia in the fifth, only to have plate umpire Jordan Baker call Morneau safe after Morneau slid past and reached back in for the plate. Replays showed catcher Tyler Flowers tagging Morneau once, if not twice, but the Twins got the call to cut the Sox’ lead to 2-1.
Dunn, who had a single taken away by first-base umpire Dan Bellino — replays showed him easily beating the throw on a would-be hit against a shift into to short right field — had given the Sox a 1-0 lead with a home run against Twins starter Kevin Correia in the second. When Dayan Viciedo followed with a blast into the top deck in left. it gave the Sox back-to-back homers for the first time this season and a 2-0 lead.
Jake Peavy (five hits, no walks, six strikeouts) pitched seven strong innings and lifted his record to 5-1 after consecutive doubles by Dewayne Wise and Flowers and an RBI single by Ramirez gave the Sox a 4-2 lead in the eighth.
Ventura said the workout was called to rattle his team’s cage.
‘‘The things you consider unacceptable, there’s consequences to everything that goes on,’’ he said. ‘‘But there is a responsibility to get it right, too. When it’s sloppy, you need to figure out ways to let them realize it can’t go on. This is one way that it’s done.
‘‘Just making sure I’m doing what I need to do, too. I’m supposed to be quality control, and that’s part of coming out here [and] making sure everybody is doing it the way they’re supposed to do it. It’s not like covering your tracks; it’s more you’re trying to give them the right stuff because apparently spring training didn’t do it.’’
Dunn said he was ‘‘100 percent’’ on board with the workout, which was attended by general manager Rick Hahn.
‘‘Obviously, there’s a need to do that, especially the way we have got guys out of position on things you worked on the first day of spring training,’’ Dunn said. ‘‘Somewhere down the line, we got away from what we did really well last year. Today kind of put everybody back to doing the little things we needed to do and relearning. It was good.
‘‘I knew something was coming. I didn’t know when and where, but I think it was perfect timing.’’