How White Sox will try to deal with Tampa's dome
Editor's note: Each day throughout the White Sox' playoff drive, we'll chat with Bill Melton and share his answers to key questions.
Q. Tampa Bay's Tropicana Field bears a frightening resemblance to the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Is that a bad omen for the White Sox?
A. I think it's a bad thing because we've won just four games in domes this year; we're 4-12. The advantage goes to the Rays because you have to have speed in the outfield with guys like B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford.
That's where we run into problems. Their guys can cut off balls into the gap, but it's tougher for our guys to cut off the balls unless we're positioned right.
Q. Why is it so hard for visiting teams to hit in domes like the Trop?
A. The ball is kind of gray. By that, I mean it looks gray because you've got the lights reflecting on the top of the ball, but you've also got the reflection of the lights coming off the turf and hitting the bottom of the ball.
A 90 mph fastball looks like 93 because you're not used to seeing that gray ball.
You've got to go in there and take a lot of "BP" the day before and the day of your first game. It usually takes a game to get used to it.
Q. Why do you think the Rays made such giant strides this year (they won 31 more games than in 2007)?
A. Like the Minnesota Twins, they've found four good young starters that throw strikes. (James) Shields, (Scott) Kazmir, (Matt) Garza, (Andy) Sonnanstine: They're all 24-, 25-, 26-year-olds who all throw good breaking balls or changeups.
That's the type of pitching that plays havoc with the White Sox. We're a "challenge us" lineup.
They also play great defense and they've got the mojo, man. What have they won at home this year, 161 games?
Q. How can the Sox steal a game or two at the Trop?
A. What makes the White Sox tough is they're veterans who can all hit home runs.
If you're a young pitcher like Shields or Sonnanstine, you've got to go through nine batters and not make a mistake.
That's all we are is a home run-hitting lineup. You make a mistake, like Nick Blackburn did for the Twins, and we'll hit it 9 miles.
That's a lot of pressure. We can mentally wear a pitcher down. You hope their young pitching maybe have a little nerves in their legs and make mistakes.
But if you're throwing the ball well, you'll get us.
Q. OK, here's the toughest question. What's the percent chance Paul Konerko replicates the inside-the-park home run he hit at the Trop on April 11, 2000?
A. Zero. I have no problem with that question. He's got a bad knee.
• Former White Sox third baseman Bill Melton is Comcast SportsNet's studio analyst on "White Sox Pre-Game Live" and "White Sox Post Game Live."