White Sox snap 4-game losing streak with 16-2 pounding
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter April 20, 2014 5:32PM
Updated: April 20, 2014 10:06PM
ARLINGTON, Texas — There was an ominous feeling surrounding the White Sox on Easter Sunday morning. They had lost four in a row, were hitting a tough part of their schedule head on and injuries were beginning to stack up — the latest to their rambunctious leadoff man Adam Eaton, who’s taking a seat with a minor hamstring strain.
Inside the clubhouse, though, players — many laughing through a video of Chris Farley’s best moments on ‘‘Saturday Night Live’’ before the game — seemed unfazed.
“You just deal with it,’’ said manager Robin Ventura, who has seen Avisail Garcia, Gordon Beckham, Nate Jones and Felipe Paulino go on the disabled list.
“You feel bad for the guy that’s down, but you just keep playing. The games don’t stop, so everybody understands it’s the next man up. It’s all hands on deck, and you try to figure out a way to win the game.’’
Cranking out 18 hits, including three home runs, is one way to approach that, which is what the Sox did in a 16-2 laugher Sunday afternoon over the Texas Rangers.
The Sox’ victory was highlighted by homers from Jose Abreu, Dayan Viciedo and Jordan Danks and a career-high four hits — including a bases-loaded triple — by second baseman Marcus Semien, who took over for Eaton in the leadoff spot.
“When you deal with adversity, you find out the makeup and depth of your ballclub,’’ third-base coach Joe McEwing said as Farley’s comical character Matt Foley was giving a motivational speech on a TV screen across the room.
“We’re going through that now. It’s a part of building character, and every single individual in this clubhouse has done an outstanding job of coming together as one and fighting day in and day out and grinding out at-bats no matter the score. It has been refreshing.
“Come July, come August, we’ll be a better club for that. I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people when everyone gets healthy and guys settle into their roles.’’
The offensive explosion was a reminder that the Sox (9-10) have the ability to win on days when their pitching is lacking.
Erik Johnson (1-1) had an oddly effective outing, allowing one single but walking five while pitching only five innings to earn his first win. Johnson threw 87 pitches, only 44 for strikes, and walked the leadoff man each time in the first four innings.
“You are either effectively wild or effectively lucky,’’ said Ventura, who is growing weary of his pitching staff’s league-leading number of walks. “There was a little Harry Houdini in getting out of it.’’
Right-hander Andre Rienzo, the tentative replacement for Paulino on Wednesday against the Detroit Tigers, pitched the eighth inning, loading the bases with a walk, a hit batsman and an infield single but escaped without any damage.
“I think he’s fine to be able to [start Wednesday] with an inning,’’ Ventura said.
Having question marks in the rotation and bullpen make it tough for upcoming games against the Tigers and Tampa Bay Rays, then the Tigers again. As McEwing said, the Sox will get a better handle on what kind of team they are in the next 13 days.
If the Sox have designs on being a contender, these four against the Tigers have some meaning. Without Eaton for at least two, Ventura tried to downplay their significance.
“Especially the way we’re going in there,’’ he said. “We know they’re a good team, so just be prepared for it. It’s not going to make or break the year in the next four days.’’