Beginner's luck boosts Beckham's bat
Sox phenom takes advantage of being unfamilar to pitchers
CHICAGO -- In the short but impressive time third baseman Gordon Beckham has been part of the White Sox, he has only faced the Indians, Tigers, Twins and Cubs in more than one series.
Now, with key scouts in place around baseball and the extended use of video, teams can break down Beckham's tendencies without seeing him in more than three or four games. But it's easier to handle young talents such as Beckham once a good pitcher views him live for more than a few at-bats.
John Lackey basically made that particular point after Beckham homered and singled home the tying run against the Angels right-hander on Tuesday during the first meeting between the two.
"He definitely had a good night [Tuesday]," Lackey said. "You see a guy a few times, you can make some adjustments. You're going to give up one or two in this park ... especially against a guy you haven't faced before."
Beckham homered off of a hanging slider from Lackey in the first, taking advantage of a clear mistake. To Beckham's credit, he hasn't let success go to his head or pretended to have mastered the game of baseball in just 187 at-bats entering Wednesday.
The rookie phenom has joked about how he might just be having a couple of good months and nothing more. That hypothesis appears unlikely, especially with Beckham batting .130 points higher on the road than at hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field.
There also will be better pitches continuing to come Beckham's way staying at the lineup's second slot, even when a healthy Alexei Ramirez returns Friday, hitting in front of Jermaine Dye, Jim Thome and Paul Konerko. But Beckham understands the game from his point of view is about changing when the pitchers change their approach to getting him out.
"Right, they are going to adjust to me, and I'm going to have to adjust back," Beckham said. "Then they are going to adjust to me again, and I'm going to have to adjust back again. That's an everyday type of thing. But people are going to make mistakes, and you have to make them pay when they do.
"People also are going to think what they want, so they can get better and have a plan next time. I think that's baseball. Everybody is going to adjust every time to someone new."
Keeping the plan simple has worked so far for Beckham. Basically, he doesn't think much about those future adjustments made by Lackey and other hurlers.
"I just go up there and look over the plate, and if it's there, I'm going to hit it," Beckham said. "If it's not, I'm going to let it go most of the time. I haven't noticed patterns yet, but I'm sure there are. I'm trying not to pay attention. I'm at my best when I don't listen to all that stuff."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.