White Sox strikeouts leave Walker scratching his head

Nathaniel Whalen

Greg Walker can explain some of the strikeouts by his freewheeling White Sox. Others, well, that’s a little harder.

“I always start with giving the pitcher credit,” the Sox’s hitting coach said. “The lefties from the Cubs (Rich Hill and Sean Marshall) threw the ball well. The guy from (Monday) night, I can’t really come up with a good reason why we struck out against (J.P.) Howell.”

Howell, no relation to Thurston, struck out seven Sox despite not topping 90 mph on the radar gun. The Sox struck out a season-high 15 times in the game, but still beat Tampa Bay 5-4.

The Sox had whiffed 45 times in their last four games going into Tuesday night’s game, and they struck out eight more times through the first five innings against Tampa Bay starter James Shields.

“Well, I don’t like ’em, and sometimes they’re not the worst thing in the world, but the amount we’re talking about is not good,” Walker said. “Same old thing. There’s nothing different. The same problem that’s causing us not to hit is causing us to strike out.

“Some of that is anxiety. Some of that is not being good.”

Some is trying too hard.

“Hate it. Hate it,” Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I think when you strike out, you don’t have a chance to do some damage. You don’t have a chance for the guys to make a mistake, throw to the wrong base. So much can happen when you put the ball in play.”

Ozzie staying put

No matter how many times general manager Ken Williams insists otherwise, there are still “experts” who say Guillen is on the hot seat.

“I think it’s funny,” Guillen said. “I have one more year on my contract, and that’s all I care. After that, you just see what happens. If I get fired -- I don’t want to, I don’t think I want to leave this town, I don’t think I want to leave this organization -- in the meanwhile, I’m not going to sit there and scratching my head, ‘Oh, my God, they’re going to fire me.’

“If they fire me, I might have a couple of less wrinkles in my face and a couple less white hairs in my head. I come here to stay, man. That’s the way it is.”

Guillen’s career winning percentage going into Tuesday’s game was .541.

“There are a lot of worse managers than me. A lot,” Guillen said. “They know who they are. And they still have jobs. ... I don’t even ask Kenny, I don’t even ask (chairman Jerry Reinsdorf). It’s up to them what they want to do, where they want to go.”

Coming soon?

Jermaine Dye ran Tuesday for the first time since aggravating a strained right hamstring injury Saturday. He could be back in the lineup as soon as Thursday.

“I talked to (trainer Herm Schneider). He said (Wednesday) he’s going to do more activities, and we expect him to be back the Kansas City series (which begins Friday),” Guillen said.

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