White Sox finding success on 2-strike counts

Club focused on not giving up on any at-bats

White Sox finding success on 2-strike counts

MINNEAPOLIS -- With their 3-0 victory over the Twins Wednesday at Target Field, the White Sox have the most runs scored in all of baseball off of two-strike counts, with 21.

All six of Todd Frazier's RBIs have come with two strikes, trailing David Ortiz in the American League (seven). This late-in-the-count success stands as a sign of an offense not giving up any at-bats.

"Just bearing down, man. You have to understand two strikes isn't the end of your at-bat," Frazier said. "I would rather get my hits earlier, but you get them when you can. So with two strikes maybe the concentration level goes up or it's, 'All right. Now it's time to hit.'"

"You certainly have seen a lot of fight from at-bat to at-bat," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "It has been what Trick [hitting coach Todd Steverson] and Sparky [assistant hitting coach Greg Sparks] and [manager] Robin [Ventura] and the guys have tried to emphasize in terms of having an approach dictated in part by what you see on the scoreboard."

Hahn further explained that game situations might call for getting a guy over or having to shorten up with two strikes and put the ball in play. It also might be going for it all, as Jimmy Rollins did in the ninth inning of the season's second game in Oakland, delivering what amounted to be the game-winning homer … with two strikes.

Austin Jackson has excelled in those two-strike situations, with five hits in 12 at-bats. That approach played out in the fourth inning Monday at Target Field, when Jackson missed a grand slam by inches and then delivered a two-run single to center on the next two-strike offering.

Frazier doesn't really change his approach or choke up with two strikes. The opposing hurler is coming with his best pitch, so he keeps that in the back of his mind and doesn't forget about the fastball.

"I'm just trying to square it up," Frazier said. "If you have that approach trying to square the ball up on the meat part of the bat, staying inside or driving it, good things will happen. With two strikes, even better. It shows you have a little perseverance. It's not the end of your at-bat and you have to keep battling and hit strikes. When you hit strikes, you are going to be better off."

"It's a team that has been very focused and doing everything in their power to put themselves in a position to win and fight through at-bats and not taking anything for granted," Hahn said. "No individual is trying to do too much. They've got guys behind them picking them up when they're not succeeding."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.