Gordon Beckham hasnt felt terrible or lost at the platethis season. He just feels frustrated.The White Sox second baseman will carry a .231 battingaverage into Fridays series opener against the Los Angeles Angels. But Beckham-- who hit .188 with four RBIs in July -- thinks his average should besignificantly better.Ive felt like Im up there battling, doing the rightthing, putting the ball in play and putting the ball in play hard sometimes,Beckham said. I dont feel like Ive gotten what I deserved, but thatsbaseball. Tough luck.The numbers suggest Beckham has in fact suffered some badluck this season. Beckham is hitting .254 on balls in play this season -- afigure that counts only at-bats that dont result in strikeouts and home runs.His career average has dropped to .280 on balls in play. But Beckham's BABIP has been .297, .290 and .276 in three previousseasons. One area where Beckham has improved significantly -- andpart of the reason for his frustration -- is his strikeout rate. Last season,Beckham struck out once every 4.49 at-bats. This season, hes only striking outonce every 6.40 at-bats.This year more than any year Ive felt like Ive hit theball well and not had (results), Beckham said. Last year was a bad year. Ididnt feel comfortable at the plate. It was almost like whatever hit I got Iwas thankful to get. This year I do feel comfortable and Im doing a lot ofthings right and thats the part where you want to pull your hair out becauseyou expect to have better results.His offensive numbers havent affected his defensive ones. Beckham has combined with shortstop Alexei Ramirez to givethe White Sox one of the best double play combinations in the American League. He could have easily shut down, but he hasnt, hittingcoach Jeff Manto said. Some guys if theyre not hitting, theyre not playingdefense. But he separates the game extremely well. Every day hes working. Imnot going to tell you hes not frustrated, but he doesnt wear it on the field.Beckham insists the way he deals with frustration hasnt improvedwith experience. The fourth-year starter said it might actually make it harderfor him to try and fight through the difficulty. But he also said he hasnt yetgiven up on the season and attaining his goals.It has not become easier, Beckham said. Ive kind ofleaned pretty heavy on my faith this year, that Im continuing to be humbled.For whatever reason it hasnt really gone my way when it could have. You keepon battling. We have two months left and thats a lot of time, 50, 55 gameswhere I know Im capable of putting up every number I thought I was going toput up this year. I believe I can get there.
The White Sox take on the Kansas City Royals on Monday, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.
Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jose Quintana (13-11, 3.21 ERA) vs. Chris Archer (8-19, 4.02 ERA)
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Todd Frazier reached the 40-home run plateau on Wednesday night and now his eyes are trained on 100 RBIs.
Frazier’s seventh-inning solo home run not only extended his hitting streak to 12 games, it provided the game’s only offense in a 1-0 White Sox victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in front of 12,976 at U.S. Cellular Field. Frazier became only the seventh player in franchise history to hit 40 homers in a season with his 394-foot drive off Rays pitcher Eddie Gamboa. The blast offered Miguel Gonzalez and David Robertson just enough support as they combined on a three-hit shutout. Robertson recorded his 37th save in 44 tries.
“It’s a big deal any time a guy rounds off that number,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It’s always a big deal for you. He’s been wanting to get there for a while. I don’t know if you guys know, but he’s been talking about it for a while. I know I’ve heard it a lot. He’s been aiming for that. He wants to get 40 and 100 and especially if it counts like it did tonight and gets a guy a win.”
Frazier entered the game hitting .305/.374/.568 with six homers and 14 RBIs in September, easily his best month of the season. His homer came on a cold, windy night in which offense was at a premium.
The game was delayed for 21 minutes by rain, which continued through the first inning. The rains came again in the bottom of the third inning and delayed the contest for another 76 minutes.
Tampa’s third pitcher of the night, Gamboa’s 76-mph knuckleball caught too much of the plate and Frazier planted it about eight rows beyond the left-field bullpen with two outs in the seventh.
“Not many people have hit 40 home runs in a year so it’s a good feat to have,” Frazier said.
“It’s a great feat to have. I had a bunch of people text me ‘It’s coming. Today is the day.’ It wasn’t that much pressure. It was just a matter of knowing that it’s there and I’m glad to get it over with and now it’s on to another goal of mine.”
Frazier has never driven in 100 runs in a season. His 98 RBIs this season are nine more than his previous career high of 89 that he set in 2015.
Gonzalez hadn’t pitched into the ninth inning since he threw a four-hit shutout on Sept. 3, 2014. To get there he had to stay loose and sharp throughout the second delay of the night. Gonzalez threw twice during the delay, a total of 25 pitches in the indoor cage, and stretched to stay loose.
But being his final start, Gonzalez wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. He returned after the delay and was remarkable. He had stretches where he retired eight in a row in the middle and nine straight into the ninth before he yielded a one-out single to Logan Forsythe.
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He allowed three hits, walked none and struck out five. Gonzalez threw strikes on 71 of 102 pitches.
Robertson took over and needed only one pitch to record the save as Kevin Kiermaier grounded into a game-ending double play.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been out there for the ninth inning,” Gonzalez said. “It took me two years to get there, but they were swinging early. I made some good pitches early on. Got some quick outs, that’s what you got me to the ninth inning.
“Staying loose was really the most important thing for it.
“I was mentally prepared. Obviously you can’t get away with it. It was my last start. I was going out no matter what and didn’t give in and the results were there.”