White Sox notes: Defense remains an issue

White Sox notes: Defense remains an issue
June 15, 2014, 2:00 pm
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Any time the White Sox defense is the cause of a loss, or at least plays a significant role in one, it'll lead to callbacks to 2013's error-filled season.

Leury Garcia's error Saturday opened the floodgates in the fourth inning, propelling Kansas City to a five-run frame and a comfortable victory. Dayan Viciedo misplayed a fly ball (albeit, on a windy day) that exacerbated the sloppy inning as well.

"You’re not pleased with it but you continue to work at it and emphasize it," manager Robin Ventura said Sunday. "They know it. It’s not a secret for them that if we don’t play good defense we don’t have a chance to win."

While the White Sox defense appears improved from last year, the advanced metrics tell a different story. The White Sox have the 24th-worst team defensive runs saved (minus 23) and 20th-worst ultimate zone rating (-7.4) in baseball, putting them in the bottom third of the majors by both systems.

The White Sox have also committed the second-most errors in baseball, with the team's 53 only topped by Cleveland's 64.

For Ventura, the task is getting his players in the right mindset to make plays, though that's easier said than done.

"There are times it can mentally be a block, trying to let it go down the wrong path," Ventura said. "Last year I thought we were that way. Everybody wasn’t trying to make a play, they were trying not to make a mistake. "You have to separate that and let them have a feeling that you can make this play instead of screwing up."

Flowers gets a rest

Mired in a brutal slump, Tyler Flowers was given Sunday off against Royals ace James Shields. Flowers is hitless in his last 25 plate appearances with 18 strikeouts, and said Saturday he's working to get his timing back.

[MORE: Tyler Flowers trying to keep things simple]

Adrian Nieto, who's mainly seen action when John Danks starts, took over behind the plate Sunday.

"I think the way (Flowers) has been swinging, he’s been working on things, timing, mechanical stuff and it can wear on you," Ventura said.

Happy Father's Day

With Sunday being Father's Day, Ventura reflected on what his dad meant to him -- specifically getting him interested in baseball.

"I had a close relationship. He loved baseball," Ventura said. "I was the third son so I was always following him around with my other brothers as he coached baseball. I was a tag-along. I’d do anything they were doing. If he was coaching baseball I was going. If I would shag, I could hit at the end, that was my reward. So I shagged as much as I could and they would let me hit at the end.

"But I was one of those little brothers that was a tag-along. Wherever they were going, whatever they were doing, I was following them around. My dad, I think you look back for me and baseball, he just loved baseball so that was our family thing to do."