Ozzie Guillen: I wouldn’t change approach with White Sox
BY TONI GINNETTI email@example.com September 24, 2011 10:52PM
Juan Pierre (left) and Alex Rios, who went 3-for-4, celebrate the Sox’ 6-3 victory Saturday. | Brian Kersey~Getty Images
Updated: December 1, 2011 5:27AM
The White Sox’ season will go down as one to forget. But amid the gloom, there were some lessons.
The 2011 season will be another reminder of how talent on paper doesn’t necessarily translate to a good year on the field. How ‘‘off years’’ can occur at any time in a player’s career. How one team’s surprises can affect another team’s fortunes. And how injuries always play a role in the final outcome.
For Ozzie Guillen, the question remains: Will 2011 be his last as the Sox’ manager, even though he’s under contract for one more year.
As much as it has been one of his most painful seasons, Guillen says he wouldn’t change his approach with the team.
‘‘If you ask me if I’d change this ballclub, I’d say no,’’ he said Saturday. ‘‘If you ask if I’d change the way I manage, I’d say no.
‘‘How do you learn? To get stronger every day, appreciate what your job is. That’s all you can do. You can’t rewind; we’ve got to move forward.’’
The Sox might not finish the season at .500 — they’re at 77-81 after the 6-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals. But they won’t be the only underachieving ‘‘surprise’’ team of the American League Central.
The Minnesota Twins, who won the Central last season, could lose 100 games this season. Injuries contributed greatly to their downfall, especially losing their powerful offensive duo of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau for much of the season.
‘‘The injuries are a big part of this game, or any sport,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘When you have that many people injured, it’s hard to overcome and close those gaps. If you have one or two injured, you can figure it out.
‘‘But when you have three or four guys [out] every other day, that’s what happens. I feel for Gardy [Twins manager Ron Gardenhire]. I know what he’s going through. I know it’s very hard for him to manage a ballclub like that.
‘‘It’s one of those kind of years. Kind of a crazy year. I said the American League Central was there to take, and the guys that took it were the guys that played the best when they had to play the best.’’
That would be the Detroit Tigers, who also had injuries, but also perhaps the league’s best pitcher in Justin Verlander.
‘‘When you have a guy like that, you cut the bleeding right away,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘You cut the losing streaks. And when you’ve got a guy that you know can go nine innings, that helps your bullpen before and after.
‘‘They have a lot of guys that pitch good for them, and you’ve got their lineup. Victor [Martinez] made that lineup a lot better. They are where they are because they earned it, and they deserve to be there.’’
So much of the Sox’ troubles this season have been blamed on the offense — they’re on pace to score 659 runs, which would be their fewest since scoring 633 in 1988 — and that has taken a toll on the pitching staff of late.
‘‘I said earlier in the season, if we continue to not help our pitching staff, they’re going to break,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘Before September, our pitching staff was very strong. But sooner or later, if you don’t help those guys win games [offensively], the pitching is going to go down.’’
The worst statistic for the Sox might be their home record (34-43).
They’re assured of a losing season at U.S. Cellular Field for only the third time in 21 seasons since the park opened. Only the Twins will have a worse home record in the league. That has taken a toll at the turnstiles as well — perhaps the most costly loss of all.
The Sox will need to average about 21,650 in their last four games to reach 2 million, and that would still be down from last season’s 2,194,378.