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Broadcaster Stone didn’t think Sox would be this bad

Rusty Kuntz George Kottaras GordBeckham

Rusty Kuntz, George Kottaras, Gordon Beckham

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Updated: September 26, 2013 10:43PM

You won’t hear Steve Stone say he’s disappointed in the White Sox because he didn’t think they had a realistic shot to begin with.

Frustrated? Now that’s a different issue, but only because the Sox took bad baseball to unforeseen lows during his sixth season working on the South Side.

“This is a very frustrating year,’’ Stone said. “Not because I thought the Sox had any chance to be up there with Detroit. I said to a number of friends during spring training that the Tigers were 15 games better than the Sox. Man for man, we didn’t match up.’’

It turns out Stone was off by about 15 games on the Sox, who fell to 31 games behind after a 3-2 loss Thursday to the Kansas City Royals.

“As frustrating as anything is the mental mistakes, abominable baserunning and the inability to execute offensively and defensively,’’ Stone said. “It’s the anatomy of a very bad season.

“It all came together to provide some historically bad occurrences this year.’’

It all came together in general manager Rick Hahn’s first year. In his final meeting of the season with the media Friday, Hahn will attempt to express some measure of hope for a turnaround next season, which might not include Paul Konerko as a participant. Konerko, who hit his 12th homer of the season and 434th of his career to go with three strikeouts, also will hold a formal session — perhaps to shed light on his playing desires beyond the season or to give a timeline on his decision. Konerko’s contract is up, and retirement is a possibility for the 37-year-old star who has played 15 years in Chicago.

Perhaps producing below his normal standards (Konerko is batting .248 with 54 RBI) and playing with nothing at stake on a team that’s threatening to lose 100 games will prove to be all Konerko can take.

“This year,’’ Stone said, ‘‘watching a baserunner on second go to third on a ground ball ahead of him over and over and over again, you wonder why these major-league players don’t understand why you don’t run to third. Why do you continue to overthrow cutoff men 100 games into the season? [They need to know] how important 90 feet given or taken is in the winning or losing of a game.’’

After Adam Dunn hit a 442-foot tying homer against Jeremy Guthrie in the sixth, the Sox gave the go-ahead run back by misplaying two consecutive bunts. Konerko fielded a sacrifice attempt by David Lough in the seventh inning and didn’t take an out at first, looking to second, where there was no play. When George Kottaras bunted, catcher Bryan Anderson threw over Konerko’s head, allowing Justin Maxwell to score. It was the Sox’ 121st error.

Radio analyst Darrin Jackson has seen the same bad baseball and felt the fans’ pain. By June, he and play-by-play partner Ed Farmer decided to keep things light.

“This has actually been a great season for us in the radio booth,’’ Jackson said. “It’s tougher with television because everybody sees what’s going on. We’re up there telling stories. It’s not been about focusing on the bad play in front of you. If they’re tuned in, they want to hear Ed and I having fun. We’ve had more compliments this year than I’ve ever had as a broadcaster.’’

Thursday’s loss was the Sox’ 21st in the last 27 games. They need to win one of their last three to avoid 100 losses.

NOTES: Sox broadcaster Ken Harrelson will serve as a guest studio analyst on MLB Network’s ‘‘MLB Tonight’’ during the American and National League Division Series on Oct. 4 and 5.

◆ Right-hander Andre Rienzo (2-3, 4.82 ERA) allowed two earned runs in six innings in his final start.


Twitter: @CST_soxvan

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