Rejuvenated offense signals turnaround
Contributions throughout lineup key to recent stretch
CHICAGO -- There's been a lot of talk about hand signals around the White Sox lately. It's as if it's another language spoken only between White Sox players when they reach base.
Not even manager Robin Ventura fully understands what they all mean. Some are a simple rubbing of the head, other's mimic rocking a baby, but whatever they are, it's happening more often recently.
After White Sox hitters struggled to find their offensive identity in the first half of the season, their patience is finally being rewarded at the plate.
"You're happy just because these guys are now happy," Ventura said. "For them, when they go to the plate and when they're playing the game, they feel like they can score. That's a fun way to play baseball."
Added catcher Geovany Soto: "Good things and bad things are going to happen on the field, but we try to stay positive, stay happy, and keep that chemistry on the team. We just try to have fun, try to keep it alive, and keep everybody paying attention."
In the 10 games prior to Sunday's 12-3 loss to the Yankees, the White Sox scored 70 runs.They began the month last in the Majors in runs scored, but had moved up four spots entering Sunday's game.
They won eight of those 10 games in that offensive stretch, moving to third in the American League Central. The clubhouse is still as loose as ever, and the hand signals continue to be a staple with players on the bases.
It's not just center fielder Adam Eaton's 11-game hitting streak or first baseman Jose Abreu's 13-game stretch. Nor is it solely the rejuvenation of shortstop Alexei Ramirez or left fielder Melky Cabrera's power surge.
"This is a team," said Abreu though interpreter Billy Russo. "You look at the performance of each one of the players, that gives you energy, that gives you confidence. That also helps you get better. If someone is doing well, you want to do as well as him. That's the key for our team."
And it's not as if the conversation has changed this season. It has just taken longer than expected for everything to develop. Ventura preached patience early on, reminding everyone if he had the answer, he would have used it already.
"We've kind of weathered the storm, and we're probably stronger for doing it," Ventura said. "When you weather it together, it's a team game. It's individual when you go to the plate, but there's something else going on when it becomes a team game and everybody feels like they're contributing."
And now that they do, even quiet players such as Carlos Sanchez or Avisail Garcia are getting in on the fun. Everyone has some part in this language now, and as long as the offense continues, it won't be slowing down.
"[Baseball] can wear on you, it can be hard, it can drop you to your knees when you're not scoring and you're not playing good defense," Ventura said. "There's more hand signals when you're hitting the ball. If you're not hitting the ball, well, there's no sense having hand signals."