ST. PETERSBURG -- At the beginning of Chicago's series in Tampa Bay, White Sox manager Rick Renteria stressed the desire for his team to play "clean baseball" against the Rays.The White Sox arrived in Florida riding a five-game losing streak. Two games in, and there are still a few stains."We've
ST. PETERSBURG -- At the beginning of Chicago's series in Tampa Bay, White Sox manager Rick Renteria stressed the desire for his team to play "clean baseball" against the Rays.
The White Sox arrived in Florida riding a five-game losing streak. Two games in, and there are still a few stains.
"We've been talking about it since the beginning," Renteria said. "I don't care how good of a club you are in terms of talent or not, you have to play clean baseball. Part of that is hitting the cutoff guy. Part of that is not running into outs. Part of that is knowing what you are supposed to be doing, and executing bunts or things of that nature.
The White Sox have committed multiple errors, including a pair during Wednesday's loss which resulted in an unearned run in the decisive third inning.
The White Sox stranded nine of 16 runners during the first two games of the series, and are just 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Hitters had also struck out 23 times entering Thursday's contest. Chicago was caught stealing on three of its four attempts, and Leury Garcia -- who leads the team with six steals -- was responsible for two of those.
Chicago has been caught on 17 of its 37 attempted steals this season. The team's 54 percent success rate is the lowest in the American League. Chicago also had one runner picked off during this series.
"We're always looking for 75 percent [success rate] or better," Renteria said. "Efficiency in stolen bases is important. You don't want to just give away outs."
Renteria said his players understand the need to have sound fundamentals, and have been doing a good job of "policing each other" on the field, but added some players may try to do too much.
"Every aspect of the game has to be done with a purpose, and everybody has to know their skill set and what they have to improve upon in order to execute certain things," Renteria said.
Kopech an All-Star
Righty Michael Kopech was selected to start for the North Division in the Southern League All-Star Game on June 20 in Pensacola, Fla. Kopech, the organization's No. 2 prospect and No. 11 in baseball according to MLBPipeline, has gone 4-3 with a 2.93 ERA this season for Double-A Birmingham. He leads the Southern League with 80 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings pitched.
J. Scott Butherus is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.