White Sox suffer another big loss to Red Sox, 14-2
Moments before a nationally televised game at U.S. Cellular Field on Saturday afternoon, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen revealed that this season is “the hardest job that I’ve had in my career.”
Hours later, after the Boston Red Sox wore out his White Sox once again, 14-2, Guillen could only wonder how many degrees of difficulty were left to endure.
And Guillen told his players as much and more in a 10-minute talk behind closed doors afterward.
“I feel those guys never quit on me, but I worry that they quit on themselves,” Guillen said. “I don’t want to see those guys with their heads down and feel sorry for themselves.
“We still have a job to do here. If we continue to play like that, it will be the worst September that they’ll ever have.”
Starter Mark Buehrle pitched five scoreless innings before he was nicked for four runs, then the beleaguered bullpen blew up once again. Mike Lowell had four hits and Bobby Kielty four RBI for Boston.
“Ozzie said what everybody realizes - we stink and can’t really get much worse,” Buehrle said after his third consecutive setback. “Obviously, nothing is going right for us right now, but we’re not playing good - pitching, defense, hitting.”
In a ridiculous eighth inning, relievers Ryan Bukvich, Mike MacDougal and Matt Thornton were abused for eight runs on four hits, five walks, two hit batsmen and two wild pitches while many among the sellout crowd voiced their disapproval.
Bukvich failed to retire any of the nine batters he faced in his last four appearances.
“We haven’t really given the fans a reason to cheer lately,” Buehrle said. “It’s kind of a surprise that they still come out. It’s embarrassing right now.”
Meanwhile, the offense could muster only three hits against knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who joined teammate Josh Beckett as the only 16-game winners in the big leagues.
“The words that I want to say, you guys can’t print,” A.J. Pierzynski told reporters.
In a radio interview one day earlier, board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf gave his manager an “A” grade, which some considered to be a vote of confidence.
“Well, thank you,” said Guillen, who wasn’t aware of the news. “He’s the one that pays me.”
Asked what grade he would give himself, Guillen said, “Z.”
“I didn’t do what I was supposed to do, which is to win,” Guillen said, turning serious. “It’s not easy in my case when the ballclub struggles. It’s not easy to make those guys play every day. It’s easy when you make the lineup, the guys perform and you make a switch and talk with the media.
“I wouldn’t do anything different, but I take the blame because I am the face of the ballclub. There’s only one person the people will blame, and it will be me. Well, I blame myself.”
What disturbed Guillen even more was that the failed season has come two years after a World Series title, which resulted in heightened expectations.
“We let a lot of people down,” Guillen conceded. “We got a better ballclub than we show. Jerry has his opinion, and I got mine, but I let him and (general manager) Kenny (Williams) down. Hopefully, we will get better.”
Guillen sensed a lack of the confidence that was a trademark of the World Series champions.
“In 2005, the one thing we did was believe that we would win every time we went on the field, no matter what happened,” Guillen said. “I never doubted myself, and the players never doubted themselves in the stretch. We didn’t play bad, but Cleveland was on fire. We continued to play good. We just couldn’t win games. Now we play horrible.”
“Horrible” was much too nice a word to describe the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, which saw the visitors send a combined 30 batters to the plate and score 13 times.
Things got so bad that Guillen forgot the number of visits pitching coach Don Cooper had made to the mound at one point.
“That’s embarrassing,” Guillen said. “It’s not a good feeling. It’s not. Will I be happy to feel this way every day? I’d rather be home, because I have pride in myself. I am proud to wear a big-league uniform.”
In the next five weeks, Guillen will find out whether he’s alone in that regard - if he hasn’t already.
More White Sox coverage can be found online at www.dailysouthtown.com/sports