Struggling Morel, Beckham get mental break

Struggling Morel, Beckham get mental break

CHICAGO -- The finale of the four-game set with Boston featured Eduardo Escobar at second base hitting ninth and Brent Lillibridge at third base hitting second. Manager Robin Ventura's lineup moves were designed to get at-bats for these bench players but also to give the slumping starting tandem of Gordon Beckham and Brent Morel a mental break.

Beckham has a .153 average with 16 strikeouts, three doubles and two RBIs. Morel is hitting .178 with 26 strikeouts, two doubles and three RBIs.

"A lot of it just becomes mental. It mounts up on them," said Ventura of Morel and Beckham. "These are just little mental breaks, giving them this day and the day off [Monday] and then be back at it."

Morel has shown signs of shaking off the early doldrums with nine hits in 34 at-bats over his last nine games, while Beckham is 6-for-30 in his last nine contests. Ventura has stood strong in the corner of his struggling players, and the same can be said for his support of left fielder Dayan Viciedo.

It's still the quality of at-bats, more than the results, helping Ventura make his day-to-day decisions. To that end, Ventura pointed out a 10-pitch at-bat Beckham had against Jon Lester with runners on first and third and two outs in the seventh inning of Saturday's 1-0 loss.

"That was a good at-bat. He just didn't get a hit," said Ventura of Beckham's inning-ending groundout. "But he grinded it out and the competitiveness was there. He competed that at-bat.

"Eventually it's about numbers and everything else. But again, you are looking at how they are going about their at-bats and where we are at. We'll see how today goes and look at it Tuesday."