Rios, Dunn aware struggles hurting White Sox, vow to keep working
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN email@example.com August 2, 2011 11:02PM
The Sox's Alex Rios prepares to bat in the second inning Tuesday. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 16, 2011 1:21AM
The last thing Alex Rios and Adam Dunn needed was an injury to Paul Konerko — one more spotlight shining on how badly the White Sox struggle to score runs.
Rios and Dunn are the poster children for a pitter-patter offense, and they know the Sox would be leading the AL Central if they were having normal years and not hitting .206 and .165, respectively.
“We obviously don’t want to be in the situation we’re in,’’ Rios said before he went 0-for-2 in the Sox’ rain-shortened 6-0 loss to the New York Yankees in seven innings that extended their losing streak to four. “Let’s talk about me. I’m having a bad season. Some people think that you don’t care or this and that. They don’t understand. You represent the team you play for, but you also represent yourself. You don’t want to do bad for the team. You don’t want to do bad for yourself.’’
The Sox seemed to have a favorable matchup with John Danks, 4-0 with a 0.98 ERA in his previous six starts, facing Phil Hughes, who was 1-3 with an 8.24 ERA. But they had three hits against Hughes, who enjoyed an early lead as Russell Martin homered in the second inning and Mark Teixeira homered in the third to make it 4-0. Four runs is an advantage that has “insurmountable” stamped all over it against the Konerko-less Sox, who fell to 3-5 on this important 10-game homestand.
When Teixeira homered against Jason Frasor in the seventh, he became the first player to hit home runs from both sides of the plate in one game 12 times. Teixeira has 31 homers, about twice as many as Dunn (10) and Rios (six) combined.
Rios and Dunn continued to hear boos from the disgruntled fans among the 21,661 who know Dunn’s and Rios’ $12 million salaries are contributing factors in the high ticket prices.
“When somebody is doing bad it’s not because you want to do bad,’’ Rios said. “It’s because something is going wrong. Sometimes they don’t understand that, but they want the best from their team and I understand that. They want to see everybody doing well but sometimes that doesn’t happen. Sports are a tough business. It’s called a game, it is a game, but it’s not as easy as it looks. That’s it, man. At the end of the day, we don’t want to do bad. We want to perform well and do our best.’’
Rios probably would have been on the bench Tuesday if not for Konerko’s bruised calf that kept him out for the second straight game.
“What I’m trying to do right now is focus on pitch selection, getting good pitches to hit and put a good swing on it,’’ he said. “Trying not to think about mechanics.’’
After lining out to second baseman Robinson Cano in his first at-bat, Rios bounced into a double play for the 15th time this season. The exasperating thing about it was that he swung at a high 2-1 pitch.
“We’re all going to chase bad pitches. I’m trying to minimize the amount of bad pitches I’m going to chase,’’ Rios said.
The battle rages on for Dunn, too, who pulled a single through the infield in the second before striking out in the fourth. With 137 strikeouts and a .165 average, Dunn is on pace to have one of the worst seasons ever for a major leaguer.
“I want to cry,’’ manager Ozzie Guillen said with an anxious laugh when asked what he sees of Dunn at the plate. “A lot of swing and a miss. Right now, I think he’s guessing.’’
The Sox were shut out for the eighth time while falling to 5-10 in their last 15 home games.
“I’m going to come back here and keep fighting,’’ Guillen said after the game. “I’m not going to give up, I’m not going to give in. The players should know that. When the manager gives up, everything goes to pot. Players will give up on themselves and the team.
“I’m not a loser — yes I’m losing now being under .500. My job is to go out there with the best bullets until we don’t have any more.
“We have to prepare those guys to fight. They’re the ones who have to come prepared to fight 12, 15 rounds.’’