CHICAGO – White Sox manager Robin Ventura lasted 18 pitches into Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Tigers.
He should be thankful he wasn’t subject to sitting in the dugout to watch the rest of the game in person after his ejection from first base umpire Gary Darling in the first inning. The Sox were a comedy of errors en route to committing a season-high four errors in a 6-2 loss to the Tigers.
Their miscues weren’t all physical. Alejandro De Aza, leading off the third with a single, was picked off first base by Detroit starting pitcher Rick Porcello after he got caught leaning the wrong way. De Aza leads the Sox with eight outs on the bases, which also is tied for the second most in the majors.
“Anytime you get something going early and it gets snuffed out, that’s frustrating stuff,” Ventura said of De Aza’s mistake. “There are a lot of different things that frustrate you and that’s part of it. It’s stuff that needs to be cleaned up.”
The physical mistakes – of which there have been many this season – are easier to stomach. But repeated mental errors by the Sox take a frustrating season to another level.
Lately, Ventura has sent a message to his team that he won’t tolerate poor effort. Alex Rios and Dayan Viciedo both have been pulled from games because of poor base running or effort.
Ventura should keep holding players accountable and De Aza might be the next on his list. De Aza has six errors, third most by any major league outfielder.
“I don’t think there’s any point you just give up on [working on the defense],” Ventura said. “It’s an important part of the game and you’ve got to just keep harping on it. There’s nothing else you can do but keep getting after it.”
Last year, the Sox allowed 30 unearned runs as they nearly held off the Tigers to win the American League Central. Sox pitchers haven’t received much support from their teammates this season.
With 65 games remaining, the Sox have surrendered 47 unearned runs. It’s been especially ugly in the first two games of a four-game series against Detroit. Eight of the 13 runs have been unearned.
“They’re trying to play their heart out and give everything they’ve got,” said starting pitcher Hector Santiago, who took the loss. “And it’s part of the game, it gets away from them.”
The Sox have 68 errors through 97 games, which are only two less than they committed in 162 games last year.
For as much as Ventura has tried to hold players accountable, the Sox’s defense is consistently costing them wins, dropping to 1-13 when recording two or more errors.
“The ball just got rolling down the hill the wrong way and we haven’t stopped it,” Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. “If we knew the answer, if we knew how to stop it, we’ve tried all different kinds of approaches. I know as a team it’s a shame because the staff works hard.”
• Meghan Montemurro covers the White Sox and Cubs for Shaw Media. Write to her at mmontemurro@
shawmedia.com. Read the Sox Insider and Inside the Cubs blogs at NWHerald.com and on Twitter
@Sox_Insider and @InsideTheCubs.
Tigers 6, White Sox 2
Tipping point: The Tigers' three-run fourth inning was no match for a struggling Sox offense. Detroit tacked on three more runs in the sixth to cruise and were headed for an easy win. The Sox tried to make things interesting in the ninth, scoring two runs, but they didn't help themselves out in the field. The Sox committed a season-high four errors, which led to three unearned runs, and they finished with only five hits.
On the mound: Sox starter Hector Santiago kept missing his spots throughout his six-inning outing. Santiago walked five batters and allowed six runs (three earned). He also struck out six on 110 pitches. Porcello tossed seven innings of four-hit ball for Detroit.
At the plate: Third baseman Conor Gillaspie tallied two of the Sox's five hits while Alex Rios and De Aza also added a hit apiece – all singles. Paul Konerko's two-run double in the ninth prevented the shutout. The Sox loaded the bases in the first with two outs but couldn't capitalize as Jeff Keppinger grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning.
Under the radar: The Sox lost their second consecutive game to the Tigers, and they won't be getting a break against division opponents any time soon. They face American League Central teams the next 13 games and 27 of their next 30. The Sox are 11-20 against the AL Central this year.