White Sox are perplexed by their major-league-high 112 errors
BY TONI GINNETTI Staff Reporter September 13, 2013 9:14PM
Adam Dunn takes a look back at plate umpire Jeff Kellogg after striking out in the third inning Friday afternoon. The Sox stranded 13 in a 3-1 loss to the Indians. | Paul Beaty/AP
Updated: October 15, 2013 7:31AM
The plight of the 2013 White Sox is mirrored in the demise of their defense.
After leading the majors in defense and having the best defensive season in franchise history last season, the Sox lead the majors with 112 errors this season.
They are next-to-last in passed balls (21) and next-to-last in unearned runs allowed (71).
Opponents have allowed the Sox only 30 unearned runs.
The Sox also lead the majors in one-run games (53). Their record in those games is 21-32.
Errors have factored into many of the close ones, but sloppy play also is making September evaluations tougher when it comes to judging young pitchers, manager Robin Ventura said.
“Specifically with Erik Johnson pitching, you don’t get a good read on what he’s doing because we haven’t played well behind him,’’ he said. “He’s getting four and five outs an inning that he shouldn’t have to be getting.’’
Johnson has allowed 11 runs in 92/3 innings — but only five earned runs.
Poor defensive play has baffled the organization.
“We’re looking at a lot of the people who were here last year, so you know what they’re capable of and you just know they can be better at it,’’ Ventura said.
“Any time you’re not better at it, you give the other team a lot of opportunities, and you put a lot more pressure on the pitching staff that shouldn’t be there.
“It’s just one of those things that I just believe to be good you have to be able to do that.’’
The Sox didn’t add to their error total Friday, but a 3-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians exposed another failing — the lack of hitting with runners in scoring position.
The Sox stranded 13 and had two hits with 12 runners in scoring position as their record fell to a season-worst 31 games below .500 (58-89).
“We hit a couple balls well in the ninth [including Jordan Danks sending center fielder Michael Bourn to the wall to catch his fly ball] but we just couldn’t cash in that one hit when we needed it,’’ Ventura said.
Starter Hector Santiago lasted only four innings and was charged with all three runs, six hits and three walks.
Santiago (4-9) has issued at least three walks in 11 of his 22 starts.
“You’ve seen it during the course of the year, but it’s been increased with the workload and where he’s at,’’ Ventura said. “He could just be tired.’’
The left-hander said he hasn’t felt fatigue, despite pitching a career-high 1422/3 innings.
“I have two more starts. Hopefully I can finish off a little better than the last three or four games, and kind of solidify that role [as a starter] for 2014,’’ Santiago said.
NOTES: The Sox have lost 10 in a row to the Indians, extending a franchise record. They are 22-40 against American League Central opponents.
◆ Adam Dunn is 3-for-34 with 19 strikeouts in his last 10 games. “Before, he was using left field a little more,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s trying to pull too much and overswinging a bit.’’
◆ Paul Konerko drove in the Sox’ only run Friday. He is hitting .333 (20-for-60) with three doubles, two homers and nine RBI in his last 17 games.