White Sox frustrated by slow start
CHICAGO (AP) White Sox general manager Rick Hahn pointed to the players, coaching staff, front office and himself. Everyone, he said, is to blame for the team's poor start.
The White Sox dropped five in a row on a strange road trip to Baltimore and Minnesota and returned home in last place in the AL Central. They climbed out of the basement with a 5-2 victory over the Tigers on Tuesday night, but committed three errors in the win.
''This team is far, far better than what we've seen the last few days,'' Hahn said before the opener of a six-game homestand. ''Obviously, we shot ourselves in the foot with some stupid baserunning decisions, there was some poor defensive decisions and for whatever reason, whether it's a bad stretch, the schedule or illnesses going around, we need to be better than that. Based on the rotation we put together, based upon this lineup, we feel there are far, far better days ahead.''
Hard to get much worse after the White Sox were outscored 31-8 and committed six errors in four games against the Twins. The trip to Minnesota came on the heels of an 8-2 loss to the Orioles after the first two games of the series were postponed due to riots in Baltimore.
''We know we can pitch better, we know we can hit better and field better and all those things,'' manager Robin Ventura said. ''When those come together, that's when you start winning baseball games. But the first thing is you gotta pitch better, we gotta be able to get deep into that game. The way our bullpen has been, you feel like you have a chance to win it.''
Chicago (9-14) bolstered its rotation over the winter by trading for Jeff Samardzija, who pitched seven solid innings in the victory over the Tigers. It also signed left fielder Melky Cabrera, relievers David Robertson and Zach Duke, and slugger Adam LaRoche.
But the White Sox began the day with a 5.52 ERA for their starting pitchers, ranking 29th among 30 major league teams. They also were last in the majors with 70 runs and 12 homers entering Tuesday's action, increasing the heat on Ventura - at least on social media and sports talk shows.
''Everybody's frustrated. We're frustrated, too,'' Ventura said. ''You understand that, but in the end we gotta focus on what we're doing right here, and I get it. I'm frustrated. You understand where people lash out and why they do it. Again, that doesn't stop what we're trying to do here and the focus on playing the Tigers.''
Asked about Ventura's job security, Hahn returned to his emphasis on shared accountability.
''I don't think it's appropriate to sit here and say, `This guy is getting sent to the minors' or `That guy is getting traded' or `This guy is going to be replaced,''' he said. ''Anyone, whether it's a player, a coach, a manager, a scout, a front-office person, we're all in this together. In times of adversity, I think it's more important for us to pull together and reinforce what we're doing as a unit than to say anything specific about any individual.''
The White Sox got Adam Eaton back against Detroit after the speedy center fielder missed three games due to an illness. But he entered with a .192 batting average - just one of several underperforming regulars in the lineup.
''When I left, there were a lot of guys hovering around .200 and .220 and some really good hitters that were doing that right now,'' Eaton said. ''And that's not us.''
While Eaton returned to the lineup, Hahn said reliever Matt Albers had surgery last week on his broken pinkie on his right hand. The operation changes the timeline for Albers' return to six to eight weeks. He got hurt when Chicago brawled with Kansas City on April 23.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap