Pitching coach Don Cooper on Sox’ 2013: ‘Embarrassing’
September 25, 2013 10:38PM
ROYALS AT SOX
The facts: 7:10 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.
The starters: Jeremy Guthrie (14-12, 4.09 ERA) vs. Andre Rienzo (2-2, 5.04).
THE REST OF THE SERIES
Friday: 7:10 p.m., CSN+, 670-AM, 97.5-FM. James Shields (12-9, 3.21) vs. Chris Sale (11-13, 2.97).
Saturday: 6:10 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM. Yordano Ventura (0-0, 1.59) vs. Erik Johnson (2-2, 2.82).
Sunday: 1:10 p.m., Ch. 9, 670-AM. Bruce Chen (8-4, 3.31) vs. Jose Quintana (9-6, 3.45)
Updated: September 26, 2013 12:12AM
CLEVELAND — Name your adjective for the 2013 White Sox.
Pitching coach Don Cooper has his.
“Embarrassing,’’ Cooper said Wednesday. “I’m embarrassed about what we got done. And I’m saying everybody. Our group, coaches, players, everybody.’’
The 2005 postseason, when Cooper’s pitching staff reeled off four consecutive complete games in the playoffs and carried the Sox to a World Series championship, never seemed farther removed from the franchise than this season. Only Paul Konerko, who’s expected to shed some light on his plans for next season on Friday in Chicago, remains from that team.
Cooper usually enjoys watching the postseason, but he’ll be too bitter, frustrated and exhausted to tune in after a season that has produced a 62-96 record with four games left. Wednesday’s 7-2 loss was the Sox’ 14th in a row against the Indians. It left them with a 26-55 record on the road, breaking the 1969 team’s 27-54 low-water mark.
“I won’t be able to watch any of the postseason on TV,’’ Cooper said. “I need to go home after the end of the season on Sunday and just detox. Just get away from it. Even if you try to talk about the season right now, the bitterness and the frustration put you in a bad place.
“It’s still there, and I don’t think I can even evaluate right now because the constant losing puts you in a bad place.’’
The last time the Sox were in last place was 1989. The 96 losses are the most since the ’76 Sox were 64-97.
“This is the exact opposite of any team we’ve had,’’ Cooper said. “The [shortage of] confidence, the aggressiveness, the fun, coming to the park believing we’re going to win. This is the bizarro world of that. That’s the reality of it.’’
Sox pitching, which ranks eighth in the American League with a 3.97 ERA, takes less of the blame than the team’s hitting, fielding and baserunning.
“There have been some nice individual improvements [from pitchers], but we’re not sitting here thinking we’re smart and ‘hooray for us’ because everybody is a part of what we accomplished — which is nothing. It’s hard to feel smart right now. It’s hard to feel good as a player or a coach when we’re trying to avoid losing 100.’’
The Sox’ front office has been saying the team isn’t far from being competitive next season because of its pitching, but Cooper knows the Sox are more than a couple of additions away from being contenders. He lost his No. 2 and 3 starters in Jake Peavy (traded) and Gavin Floyd (injured) and two of his top relievers in Jesse Crain (traded)and Matt Thornton (traded).
“If you’re putting [Mike] Trout and [Bryce] Harper in the equation, guys like that, yeah,’’ Cooper said. “All I know is we’re about 30 games out of first place, so we need to make up about 30 games.’’
Cooper will leave player procurement to the front office.
“I’m too busy living what we’ve got going on now, and it’s not good,’’ he said. “You’re embarrassed by it. You have to wear it and get better from it. I’m convinced we will be competitive next year. We will take care of our end of it and put ourselves in position to win games.’’
NOTES: Paul Konerko sat out with a bruise after fouling a pitch off his right knee Tuesday. He said he expects to play against the Royals when the Sox close out their season with a four-game series at home.
◆ The Sox will finish with 95 losses or more for the eighth time in franchise history.
◆ Avisail Garcia hit his fifth homer in his 38th game with the Sox.
◆ The Indians, who got a two-run homer from Nick Swisher against losing pitcher Dylan Axelrod (4-11), have won their last six home games to keep their grip on one of the wild-card spots.