SEATTLE -- Asked if the White Sox staff has been transparent in its displeasure with the team’s offensive performance, catcher Tyler Flowers hesitated only briefly Monday afternoon.
“Yeah,” Flowers said. “Pretty clear-cut on that.”
General manager Rick Hahn, manager Robin Ventura and other members of the organization have met with an undisclosed number of players over the past few days to voice concerns, make sure players are on the same page and “clear stuff up”, Ventura said.
The central theme of those talks has been voicing frustration in an offense that continues to be near the bottom of the American League in several major categories, including runs scored. Ventura said the meetings are not something he wants to hold, but are a necessity after the White Sox have been shut out three times in their past six games, all losses.
“When we bring people in, you’re making sure you’re very clear and what we need to get done and how we’re going to do it,” Ventura said. “They’re not fun. Nobody wants to do these meetings. But when you’re in a situation like this, it’s necessary. I’m the guy who needs to do that.”
Adam Dunn said Ventura has been pretty open about his distaste for the team’s performance at the plate.
Through 54 games, the White Sox have been shut out six times and they are scoring 3.44 runs per game. They are last or second to last in runs, hits, walks, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. They also haven’t homered since Dunn’s opposite-field shot last Sunday at home.
“I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure it out, especially offensively,” Dunn said. “We haven’t done anything that we’re remotely capable of doing. (Ventura is) not the only one who is disappointed. … We’ve had our meetings, but there’s only so much that can be said. I think everyone in here knows what needs to be done. It’s just not getting done.”
Flowers said much of the discussion in his individual meeting -- which he took as a positive overall -- surrounded his approach at the plate. The first-year starter said coaches discussed sticking with one plan, something Flowers admits he has tinkered with in search of results.
“I feel like I’ve changed a number of things over the course of the year and maybe looking back at it and not necessarily giving a couple of different approaches a chance for a long stretch,” Flowers said. “That’s the gist of it: let’s pick something we all agree on that looks good, will compete and ride that out for the rest of the year and see what happens.”
Ventura has talked about how poor offensive performance can make a team appear listless. He has also said changes are on the horizon if the team can’t turn around its performance. This series of meetings, he said, is to reiterate the points he has tried emphasize.
“You’re not blaming anybody for anything,” Ventura said. “It’s just making sure everyone is still doing what they need to do -- just individual stuff that I want to clear up. … Effort and energy and all that stuff has to be there. We’re results-based, so it does get to a point numbers. Just how that happens, will make decisions for somebody else.”