White Sox struggling vs. right-handed starters

White Sox struggling vs. right-handed starters

KANSAS CITY -- A 6-1 loss to the Royals on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium dropped the White Sox to 14-12 and out of first place in the American League Central.

But a deeper look inside that record shows the team has a 6-10 mark against right-handed starters and an impressive 8-2 ledger vs. left-handers. The team is set up better against lefties, with Avisail Garcia, Jose Abreu, Todd Frazier and Tim Anderson as a few of their main offensive weapons hitting from the right-hand side.

In Wednesday's setback, the White Sox had two left-handed hitters in Cody Asche and Omar Narvaez and three switch-hitters in Melky Cabrera, Leury Garcia and Yolmer Sanchez. That quintet finished 1-for-14, with Cabrera and his .266 average from the left side producing the lone hit, a first-inning single.

"That's a very good stat. I didn't know about it," said Abreu, who homered in the ninth to avoid a shutout, through an interpreter. "We're facing very good right-handed pitchers, and it's early in the season. We're going to make adjustments and be OK."

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"I'll be honest, I haven't been looking at that in terms of it being a trend," manager Rick Renteria said. "We have been playing pretty well. I thought [Royals starter Nathan Karns] did a nice job today of attacking our hitters."

Karns limited the White Sox to one hit through six innings, while striking out seven.

Only Avisail Garcia (.318), Narvaez (.276), Cabrera (.266), Matt Davidson (.258) and Abreu (.250) have averages at .250 or above, among the White Sox regulars. Davidson did not start Wednesday, but pinch-hit for Asche in the sixth after Asche struck out in the third to fall to 4-for-44 on the season.

"Yeah, he's OK," Renteria said of Asche.

Davidson (.581) and Avisail Garcia (.545) have the only slugging percentages among the regulars at .500 or above against right-handed pitchers. They have faced a tough stretch of right-handed starters in Detroit's Justin Verlander, Minnesota's Ervin Santana twice, Cleveland's Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco and the Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka.

"We have to get the confidence in ourselves, the confidence in our work and to keep working hard every day, day by day, game by game, pitch by pitch," Abreu said. "If we continue doing our job, we're going to be there by the end of the season."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. 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.