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Sox’ only incentive is to try to avoid losing 100 games

Updated: October 15, 2013 7:26AM



The end can’t get here soon enough.

The only thing to play for is the quest to avoid 100 losses. With 16 games left after a 14-3 drubbing from the Cleveland Indians before an announced crowd of 14,375 that dwindled to a few hundred wet ones at U.S. Cellular Field, the Sox must win five games to avoid becoming the fourth team in franchise history to hit the century mark. It only has been done in 1932, ’48 and ’70.

“Not a good game to sit through, watch, anything,” was the extent of manager Robin Ventura’s 10-second postgame news conference. With that, Ventura, who had seen enough, had said enough.

“There’s no part of it that’s easy or that has been fun,’’ Ventura said before the game. “It’s work, and you’re trying to find ways to change it. That’s part of going into the offseason, seeing what we have now until the end of the year. From that point, you start making assessments and figuring out which way we’re going and how we’re going to do it.’’

One of the assessments made Thursday was that Alejandro De Aza was having a rough night in center field, turning the wrong way twice on deep fly balls that fell for extra-base hits and getting forced out at second base on a pop fly that fell in short left field near the foul line. It’s those errors in judgment that don’t appear in a box score on top of those that do — such as rookie third baseman Marcus Semien’s misplay on a ground ball, Conor Gillaspie’s error on a routine grounder at first and left fielder Dayan Viciedo’s misplayed fly ball on the warning track that fell for a double that went for the Sox’ staggering 110th, 111th and 112th errors of the season (they have 20 this month) — that have added to the misery of 2013.

To Semien’s credit, he earned a player-evaluation point by making a good read on second after he bounced a double off the center-field wall. On De Aza’s single to center, Semien didn’t hesitate and scored easily, a noteworthy decision only because of the countless baserunning mistakes this team has made.

That, along with Paul Konerko’s 11th home run, was a highlight on a night in which John Danks got roughed up for seven runs (six earned), nine hits, including two homers, and three walks before rookie Charlie Leesman, failing to retire any of the seven batters he faced, walked four and gave up seven runs. A 17-minute rain delay over Leesman’s outing raised the question of “what else?”

Ventura said he’s confident it will get better, that general manager Rick Hahn will put a better team on the field next season.

The faithful who watched the Sox fall behind 14-2 after five innings and stayed after getting wet hope Ventura is right.

“In talking to Rick, that’s the plan,’’ Ventura said. “How you get there depends on how the offseason goes.’’

The Sox have been so bad in so many phases — offense, defense, baserunning — that having capable young pitching hardly seems enough to right the ship. That’s how bad it has been. But Hahn believes it’s good enough, with improvement on the field, to drastically turn things around. Part of that core is Danks, who endured his worst pounding of the season.

“Couldn’t throw the ball where I wanted to throw it and got my butt kicked,’’ Danks (4-13) said. “It’s embarrassing.”

Yes, indeed. For one and all. Chalk it up to a learning experience.

“You learn more going through stuff like this,’’ Ventura said.

“I don’t wish this on anybody, but in the end, you’re better for it.’’

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @CST_soxvan



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