ST. PETERSBURG -- For the first nine games this season, the White Sox offense produced a .307 average, a .367 on-base percentage, 11 home runs and 23 doubles, while scoring 62 runs.
That strong opening reinforced hitting coach Greg Walker's good feelings about where his hitters stood as they departed Spring Training.
"We were playing slow-pitch softball the first week of the season," Walker said. "But you have to stay light on your feet and make adjustments. Right now, we have to make an adjustment."
During the past nine games, of which the White Sox have lost eight, that average has dipped to .193. The on-base percentage has plummeted to .259, with a mere 20 runs scored.
Walker readily acknowledges that the White Sox have faced a run of All-Star hurlers, with credit going to the likes of the Angels' Jered Weaver and Dan Haren and Tampa Bay's David Price and James Shields, as manager Ozzie Guillen, first baseman Paul Konerko and losing pitcher John Danks pointed out on Tuesday. But Walker also understands those good pitchers aren't exactly going to be replaced by Minor League copies in the always-tough American League.
"You like to look at first cause, what is the cause to try to solve the problem, and that first cause is we faced some of the best pitching in baseball over the last week," Walker said. "A lot of these guys will be on the All-Star team, but to be honest with you, there is a lot of good pitching in the AL right now. It doesn't get a lot easier, so we have to get better.
"The second thing is we got frustrated, and last night, we were swinging at everything. Frustration leads to a bad approach and a bad decision-making process on what pitches to swing at. We've got to gut it up and go back to the basics and get pitches in the strike zone and not try to do too much and put together a good game and build off of that."