DETROIT - A good blend of offense and pitching put the White Sox in first place for most of the season. Their hold on the AL Central was in peril in recent days because, after the starting pitching went through a rough stretch, the lineup followed
That's how bench coach Mark Parent sees it.
"The last couple of days starting pitchers have been getting behind so early so much, it's just putting quite a bit of pressure on guys to do a little more than they need to instead of just having good at-bats,'' Parent said before Sunday's game against the Tigers.
The Sox went into it with 171 homers, the third-best total in the majors. They're on pace for the eighth-best homer season in franchise history. While manager Robin Ventura isn't complaining about those numbers, he has made repeated pitches to see more runs scored in other ways. Ventura's right-hand man is on the same page.
"It was working out well when we hit home runs,'' Parent said. "There's still a lot to be said for putting three or four hits together in an inning. That's what we're going through right now. We're trying to do too much at the plate.
"We need to get walks, base hits, hit and run, bunt, get guys over and score when we need to. When we're doing those things we're pretty good.''
Parent isn't saying the rotation is to blame. In fact, he gave it props for avoiding a rocky stretch for this long.
As for the hitters, he doesn't see a lineup full of stat-conscience guys, which he views as a plus.
"There's too many guys in that room who have too much to prove and want to finish up a good year,'' he said. "A lot of young players who have good years try to protect their year [in the last month]. These guys aren't worried about protecting their year, they're trying to get to the playoffs, get all they can, show people last year was not the norm.
"We've got guys who want to win and get in the playoffs.''