Right on Q: The White Sox Clutch Problem

The White Sox still can't get a hit with runners in scoring position

The White Sox have a problem. It is an obvious one. They still can't hit with runners in scoring position. Essentially, the big hit that eluded the team in September of 2012 is still MIA as we enter into 2013.

The White Sox numbers with runners in scoring position are not good. Through 58 at bats (as of Friday afternoon), the triple slash line for RISP reads like this: .155/.232/.238

Ugh.

Digging deeper...the Sox do best with runners at 1st and 3rd. In those situations, they are .429/.500/.429. They are worst with men on second and third, or when the bases are loaded. The best run producers so far this year are Alejandro De Aza, Paul Konerko, and Adam Dunn. Dayan Viciedo is the worst guy to have at the plate in run-scoring situations: he's oh-fer with three strikeouts.

Yes, it's only been nine games. And yes, a lot can happen over the course of 162 games. But the White Sox were in first place for most of 2012 because they were able to get the big hit. Last year, they hit .272/.341/.436 with RISP. The only reason why they were lapped by Detroit at the end of the season is that the Tigers were able to keep up the pace while the Sox could not.

Despite the change in personnel, the two hole is still the weak spot in the lineup. So far, the number two hitter is producing to the tune of 179/.179/.205 with six strikeouts. That's slightly worse than last year, when Alexei Ramirez, Gordon Beckham, Kevin Youkilis, and others put up .221/.296/.354, and that is with the six weeks in which Youkilis was red-hot.

Another area of concern is catcher. Everyone said "AJ who?" after Tyler Flowers hit home runs in the first and second games of the season. However, he went hitless through the last two games of the Seattle series and the entire trip to Washington. He has struck out 10 times. Contrast that with A.J. Pierzynski, who struck out 5 times during the entire month of April 2012. I know Flowers and Pierzynski are two very different players. A.J. was a contact hitter while Flowers lets 'er rip. That results in a lot of strikeouts, and hopefully 25-30 home runs. The dingers might come at the cost of a lot of stranded runners.

In case you're wondering, A.J. is currently hitting .367 with two home runs and a triple. I am not in the "SOX SHUDDA RESIGNED AJ" camp. But others are in that camp, and they will make life very difficult for T-Flo if he keeps doing what he's doing.

Some of the White Sox problems may be BABIP related. The AL average is .301. The White Sox are currently at .285. There is room for improvement. The White Sox fortunes with RISP may improve as well. They can't stay stuck at .155 forever.

I hope.

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