Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010
Updated 10:33 PM
By Brett Ballantini
DETROIT John Dankss start on Wednesday after just three days rest was a move made neither of desperation nor condescension.
But after a series of 16-inch softball swings by hitters trying to tie the game with bases-empty grand slams and particularly hazy hot corner defense, Chicago fell 5-1 to a Detroit Tigers club playing for little more than pride. The White Soxs playoff hopes, after a 4-3 Minnesota Twins win vs. the Kansas City Royals, have been wheeled into the I.C.U., as the Chicago-9 fell 5 games back. Indeed, it has been nearly three months since the White Sox found themselves tucked so deeply away from the top spot in the A.L. Central.
This game, its over with, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. They kicked out butt very quickthats the good thing about it. I hope we just forget about this game.
Things started out swimmingly for the White Sox. Danks cruised through the first three innings and initiated a nifty 1-6-3 double play in which he narrowly avoided choking on a splinter as the barrel of Casper Wellss bat frisbeed up the middle at him. Danks also drew Detroit into a double play in the third inning after surrendering the Bengals first hit, an infield tapper by Don Kelly.
And in the fourth, ageless second baseman Omar Vizquel drove a home run out to right, and Chicagos first hit of the game also gave it a 1-0 lead. The White Sox would put two more men on base in the inning before Mark Teahen struck out to end the threat.
While no one man is responsible for losing a game, Teahen tried his hardest, with two throwing errors and an 0-for-3 night at the plate. Teahens errors upped the White Sox total to 17 in the past 14 games.
The best thing this ballclubs been doing all year long is play defense, Guillen said. It shows all those baseball geniuses that say people dont need defense to win games that in any sport, if you dont play defense youre not going to win. I dont care how good you are offensively, sooner or later it will catch up to you.
Specifically, it was Teahens throwing error on an attempted 5-4-3 double play in the fourth that opened the gates for a four-run outburst from the Tigers. The big blows in the inning were a two-run single by Brandon Inge and a two-tally double by Alex Avila.
After they scored four runs, we were flat, Guillen admitted.
The third baseman alone has 10 errors in 52 games in 2010 while erring just 11 times in 107 contests a year ago, with the Royals.
Theres nobody on this team that feels worse than Mark about that, Danks said. Its part of the game. You cant fault him. He made a good play catching the second double-play ground ball in the first place. It took a funny hop on him. You go out there and try to pick him up, do the best you can to get out of that inning. I wasnt able to make a pitch when I needed to. Unfortunately, it turned into a big inning.
Yeah, I dont know. Obviously I made the first error and didnt get it out of my head, and then making another one that really hurt us, Teahen said. Its frustrating, especially the way I didnt play the best defense before I got hurt. I mean you can have a two-error game, but obviously I dont want to have one right now and in that situation where it really hurts us.
Danks made a valiant effort to keep the White Sox in the game, but his night would end after six innings, allowing eight hits, five runs (two earned) and three walks against four Ks.
I felt great, really good, Danks said. I didnt feel any different than I would on normal rest. I ran into some bad luck, didnt make pitches when I needed to and we lost the game.
Detroit starter Jeremy Bonderman handcuffed the Chisox with eight innings of three-hit, one-run ball. The righty struck out eight and walked just one.
Bonderman threw the ball pretty good, Guillen said. He was sinking the ball, threw good sliders behind in the count, stayed ahead in the count. We didnt get anything done today. We couldnt get it going.
While faulting his entire teams effort, Guillens fatigue with Teahens underwhelming play is looking to land him plenty of pine time as the season plays out. The skipper all but confirmed that in looking ahead to Thursdays finale, placing his faith in the miraculous recovery of injured second baseman Gordon Beckham, whose reinsertion into the lineup would push Vizquel back to third base.
I believe in defense, Guillen said. I dont know whos going to start tomorrow. It depends how Gordon feels; hopefully he feels better and well put Vizquel back at third base.
Early speculation has rookie Brent Morel getting his first major-league start at third base on Thursday, with Vizquel remaining at second and Beckham taking one more, much-needed, day of rest for his deeply-bruised hand.
Fatigued, and drowning his sorrows in computer solitaire for a second straight evening, Guillen nonetheless remains upbeat about his team, and its chances of a gilded run to the postseason in spite of the enormous odds facing them with just 23 games left.
Weve got to go out and continue to play, he said. We know were going to fight all the way to the endtheres no doubt. The way were playing this road trip, tomorrows a big game, win and have a great, great road trip. We have to get up tomorrow very early and come back here and play better.
The jefes charges arent yielding to doubt yet, either.
Yes, the clubhouse is upbeat, Danks said. Yes, we still feel like we have a chance. We are shooting ourselves in the foot a little bit. The last couple of nights we havent been playing very well. Look at the road trip as a whole, and weve been playing pretty well. If you had told us we could go 8-2 on this road trip, we would take it for sure.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.