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Steverson: Struggles don't define offense

Hitting coach remains optimistic despite team's recent slump

CHICAGO -- Todd Steverson's confidence easily could have taken a hit this season with the paltry production overall coming from the White Sox offense.

This group entered Saturday ranking at the bottom or near the bottom in all of baseball in categories ranging from runs scored to on-base percentage to home runs to OPS. Steverson still believes in this struggling crew, but he admits the poor performance has an effect.

"When they struggle, it hurts in general," the White Sox hitting coach said prior to Saturday's contest. "But I hurt for them because I know what they are putting into it. These guys are grinding and plugging, and I'm right with them. So, as their guy, I hurt because they are hurting. And that's the way it goes.

"They are doing everything possible to find themselves, really. I don't want to say find their swing. Their swing is their swing. It becomes contagious. The runs haven't been there consistently right now. That's what I think spurns more confidence in the dugout when we can plate runners, keep plating runners, keep executing the situation at hand."

Steverson always has been a half-full instead of half-empty sort of coach, and he can even find the silver lining with the current White Sox offense. Aside from Monday's 11-0 loss to the Pirates, the White Sox have dropped their other seven losses in this streak by 10 runs combined.

A few well-placed hits here and there certainly can change the outcome in some of those contests. But the White Sox are missing the big hit overall.

In this eight-game losing streak entering Saturday's game, they were hitting .188 with 15 runs scored. They were 2-for-21 with runners in scoring position over the past five games and 13-for-81 with RISP over the past 15. What Steverson wants to avoid is having those cold streaks define who this offense is as a group.

And Steverson believes this offense remains a capable unit.

"It is still a good offensive unit," Steverson said. "Obviously, we took a few hits here offensively, probably somewhat mentally as a group with this type of swoon that we have gone through. But if you let that define you, you are in trouble. I'm at the top of the heap of not letting anybody let this define him or define us as a team. Not offensively. I think we'll come through.

"I don't think anybody in baseball comes out here to be bad. Everybody comes to the ballpark every day to win a ballgame, including the other side of the field. Somebody has to win, and somebody has to lose every day. It just so happens we've been on the bad end of that for about a week now. There's still time. These guys will show up, and they will have a good game.

"You still have to get it done when you have the opportunities," Steverson said. "Sometimes early becomes late. Then you end up saying what happened. We don't want to look up and say what happened. We want to take care of the business now."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin.
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