09/23/12 8:00 PM ET
Manto wants White Sox to relax despite pressure
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
Of course, sticking to what is hoped to be a successful plan becomes easier said than executed when the pressure of an airtight American League Central race to the postseason is thrown into the equation."You are not going to replace that. The pressure is there," White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto said. "It does exist. It's something you have to deal with. That's why we have the players we do because these guys have done it in the past. "It's a matter of trusting themselves. The key for me is just to be able to not necessarily relax but have that same anxiety you had earlier. It keeps you going. Just remembering to get a good ball to hit and pay attention to the at-bat." Manto explained that the only difference he's noticed with the White Sox offense centers on missing those good pitches or fouling them off, where before they were making solid contact. That scenario has become especially prevalent with runners in scoring position, where the White Sox exited Sunday 25-for-145 over the last 17 games in this particular situation, and 3-for-42 over the last six games with 40 left on base. "So, they pull back just a little bit and I think they will be OK," Manto said. "I guess you can make all kinds of cliches that the harder you work, the luckier you will get. "These guys should be pretty lucky because they have been working hard all season long and they deserve to be in the position they are in. If they continue to believe it, things will work out."
White Sox refuse to panic
ANAHEIM - There might be an occasional glance at the scoreboard to check out Detroit's results, and a few signs of frustration have popped up through an occasional White Sox bat slam during this five-game losing extended with the Angels' sweep completion Sunday.But the White Sox have not altered their postseason plans and still believe they can survive the rigors of the American League Central's final 10 days to make their first playoff appearance since 2008. "I don't think anyone is quite panicking," said White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale, who takes the mound Monday at U.S. Cellular Field against the Indians. "You start panicking and you get out of your comfort zone. That's what we don't want to do. Just be prepared." "It is coming at a bad time for us," White Sox outfielder Dewayne Wise said. "But we are still at the top with 11 to go. We just got to go out there and not worry about Detroit. Just go out there and relax and play baseball. Whatever is going to happen, is going to happen." Wise remembers the White Sox race to the finish in 2008, when his team had to beat the Indians, Tigers and Twins in the famous Blackout Game just to reach the postseason. Although the White Sox were quickly dispensed by the Rays in the first round, Wise and his teammates understand anything can happen once the playoffs begin. "You get in there however you can," Wise said. "Every team's record is the same, you know, you just got to go out there and play. You never know what could happen once you get in there. "A couple of teams might have the best record in the game. But it's about getting in there and getting hot at the right time."
White Sox rotation set through Tuesday
ANAHEIM -- Chris Sale takes the mound Monday for his 28th start and 29th appearance of 2012, bringing with him an 8-0 record and 1.20 ERA over his past nine starts at U.S. Cellular Field. Francisco Liriano gets the call Tuesday against the Indians, but Wednesday's starter, scheduled as Jake Peavy, could be changed. Peavy might get an extra day from Friday's start in Anaheim and open the four-game set against the Rays on Thursday.As for Sale, he continues to feel strong at 18 1/3 innings away from 200 and the completion of his first year as a starter. "Obviously it might take a little bit longer to bounce back," Sale said. "I just make sure I'm doing running and conditioning and stay on top of that. Once my fifth day comes up, usually I'm in a pretty good spot."
Third to first
The White Sox have been swept in just four series of three games or more this season. By contrast, the White Sox have nine sweeps of three games or more, which is tied for the most in the Majors. White Sox relievers possess a 0.99 ERA, 24 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings and a .126 opponents average against in the last nine games. Six of those outings have been three innings or more. The bullpen had allowed 26 runs on 47 hits over the previous 32 2/3 innings. The White Sox scored 11 runs over the last six games of the road trip after totaling 20 runs the first three games. They slipped to 11-33 when going homerless.