White Sox’ Hahn, Ventura take the rap
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org August 5, 2013 10:58PM
New York Yankees v Chicago White Sox
Updated: August 26, 2013 7:58PM
Using a Jay Z lyric to open a meeting with reporters Monday, general manager Rick Hahn addressed both the Alex Rodriguez circus going on at U.S. Cellular Field and the clownish play of his team.
“You’ve seen this team play recently. I’ve got 99 problems and A-Rod ain’t one of them,’’ Hahn said.
Problems? Ninety-nine sounds about right. It’s the territory the Sox are headed for in the loss column, and Hahn and manager Robin Ventura both said they accept blame for what’s happening. Ventura, talking moments before in the same spot Hahn sat in the Sox dugout, went so far as to say “It’s all my fault.”
“It is. I’m the manager so I have to take the responsibility.’’
Lose as a team, accept the blame as a team. Ventura knows it’s not all on him, but he’s standing up and taking the blame.
“We all do, myself included,’’ Hahn said. “I don’t put this on any individual coach or the coaching staff as a whole or myself or the people in the front office. I put it on all of us, players included.
“The performance has not been at an acceptable level. We as a group collectively are to blame for this.’’
The Sox avoided an 11-game losing streak, which would have been their longest since 1956, with an 8-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Monday night.
The Sox have pitched well — the starting pitchers’ ERA ranked fourth in the American League and their ERA during the 10-game skid was 2.78. Lack of hitting, questionable base-running and shaky defense have killed them.
The Sox returned home after going 0-7 on a road trip in Cleveland and Detroit.
“It was a historically bad road trip for us and we are in a bad spot in terms of our performance right now,’’ Hahn said. “It’s extremely frustrating for everyone associated with it and especially our pitchers.
“We just aren’t performing up to the level offensively we expect. We’ve had defensive lapses, all of which have been costly. And we are not playing fundamentally sound baseball right now. There’s a fair amount of issues that came to a head during this skid which hopefully ends tonight and stuff that will have to be addressed in the not too distant future.’’
It was suggested to Ventura that if he and his coaching staff are giving proper instruction, this mess must be on the players.
“I made mistakes too when I played even though I did get very good instruction,’’ he said. “Sometimes you’re not getting instruction, sometimes it’s the player, sometimes it’s a guy trying to do too much because we are in such a bad spot right now. I think a lot of it is guys are trying to do too much. I don’t think a guy is a bad player because he makes a mistake.’’
Hahn was asked about his trust in his staff, in particular second-year hitting coach Jeff Manto, because with 394 runs scored through Sunday the Sox were the only team in the American League with less than 400 runs scored.
“Jeff works extraordinarily hard,’’ Hahn said. “Unfortunately the results haven’t been on the field the way any of us hoped for, including Jeff.’’
Hahn didn’t rule out the possibility of making a waiver-wire trade. The Cardinals were interested in shortstop Alexei Ramirez before the trade deadline, and the Rangers could use a bat like Alex Rios.
“If everything rolls the right way, we won’t hesitate to do something,’’ he said. “There’s no pressure to do anything from an economic standpoint or just for the sake of let’s mix things up. We are going to do it if it make sense for the organization for the long-term.’’