Ventura calls out miscue as frustrations build
'That's just bad,' manager says of missed defensive play in 3-2 loss
CHICAGO -- The seventh-inning miscue between center fielder Adam Eaton and shortstop Alexei Ramirez had no direct effect on the White Sox 3-2 loss to the Pirates Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field, aside from adding to Jeff Samardzija's pitch count.
It was a glaring enough mistake, emblematic of a defense gone wrong since the start of the season, that White Sox manager Robin Ventura still chose not to hide his frustration postgame.
"That's just bad," Ventura said. "I'm tired of even talking about it. They know it. We work on it all Spring Training. You've probably seen it the few 100 times we worked on it. I'm getting tired of talking about it because that's just bad."
This play in question came with the Pirates holding a one-run lead and one out in the frame. Corey Hart hit a routine popup to short center that Ramirez backed up on and waved his arms to indicate he had it. But Ramirez stopped and Eaton, coming in from center, also stopped and the ball fell for a hit.
Samardzija, with his hands on his hips on the mound, had the facial expression akin to one of Ken "Hawk" Harrelson's most colorful phrases in "You've got to be bleeping me."
Eaton believed the play might have been overblown a little bit because of the White Sox losing streak now hitting seven straight games and the fact that the mistake didn't lead to a run. But bad defense is bad defense, regardless of the ramifications.
"Like I said, it didn't hurt," Eaton said. "It was a tough play but it was glaring because it's like I said, we're not playing well. If we would have won the game 5-2, it probably wouldn't even have been a blip on your radar.
"Kind of a tough play. But it's probably somewhere where I need to take charge as a center fielder and call him off. It's a good thing it didn't hurt us in the end."
Ventura certainly wasn't happy with a White Sox offense that recorded just three hits, making it four consecutive games that the lineup has had four hits or fewer -- the first time in franchise history. His comment of "we've got to be able to put up more than that" just might be the understatement of the season.
But really good teams play really good defense. It can be the difference in winning these close games when the pitching or offense is absent. In Ventura's perturbed psyche, who was supposed to take charge on that play didn't really matter in the long run.
"They need to catch it is what they need to do," Ventura said.
"You can't let any mistakes happen out there if you want to win and you want to win a lot," Samardzija said. "You might scrape across one or two here or there but you have to play a complete game: offense, defense, pitching. We need to do that."