As errors pile up, Sox trying to stay mentally strong

As errors pile up, Sox trying to stay mentally strong
May 12, 2013, 5:30 pm
Share This Post

The White Sox are 7-12 in their last 19 games, and during that span they've committed 18 errors. Other defensive miscues haven't shown up in the box score, too, contributing to a tailspin that's put them last in the AL Central.

Manager Robin Ventura isn't as worried about the physical errors as he is the mental ones. But as the physical errors pile up, they may be getting in the heads of the players making them.

"When you see it happen, you don't want to be the next guy to do it," Ventura said before Sunday's game. "I've been through it, too. It's one of those, again, you have to get to a point where--and it sounds bad--where you don't care about being the next guy, that you just make the play. And you become a reactionary game instead of thinking it too far ahead. Let your physical abilities take over and just play the game."

Catcher Tyler Flowers, though, wasn't convinced the team's defensive issues had crossed into the realm of being mental ones. 

"I don't think so. I don't think we're at Chuck Knoblauch level or anything yet," Flowers said, referencing the former second baseman who grew incapable of making throws to first base. "It's unfortunate that it keeps happening. I'm sure we're gonna address it however they think necessary. Whether that's more practice or whatever it may be, but yeah, we need to figure out and quit giving them so many opportunities."

It's a plague that may not be able to be fixed proactively. The White Sox, as they've done since Ventura was hired as manager, take infield before the first game of each series--something few other teams do. But as a team, the Sox have still committed 27 errors entering Sunday's series finale with Los Angeles, and the early returns on advanced fielding metrics--which take range into account as well as errors--aren't positive, either. 

"You can yell at each other, you can practice your butt off--I think it just comes down to focus and concentration, really," Flowers said.

Flowers has had a couple passed balls over the last few games and sees the game clearer than anyone else from behind home plate. From that vantage point, he's encouraged by not seeing a trend in errors committed by a specific player or two -- instead, he referred to the recent spate of miscues as a coincidence.

"I can't say that for sure, but I think we all believe we're better than what we've done," Flowers said. "We all believe that it's not going to continue."