Slow start not yet a sign of trouble for White Sox
GM Hahn says first measuring stick is 60 games
CHICAGO -- The final play of Minnesota's 6-0 victory over the White Sox during Friday's home opener at U.S. Cellular Field neatly summed up the South Siders' 0-4 start to the 2015 season.
Adam Eaton was thrown out at the plate on Jose Abreu's short pop up to left field, with a perfect throw by shortstop Eduardo Escobar to catcher Kurt Suzuki. It was another great play by the opposition, something the White Sox grew familiar with in Kansas City, and a less-than-ideal result for the White Sox.
There weren't many fans left to boo at that point, as much of the 38,533 sellout headed for the exits after the Twins' three-run ninth, but they were vocal throughout this contest. Yet, the general postgame consensus in the losing clubhouse is that the White Sox aren't worried about outside opinions: They believed this was a good team upon departing Arizona, and a four-game losing streak hasn't changed that belief.
"I'm not really concerned about what the fans think about our team," said White Sox third baseman Gordon Beckham, who finished 0-for-3. "We know what we have and we know they want us to win.
"This is just them being fans, but we've been grinding all spring and, like I've said a million times, we've got a good team. There's a lot of good in here."
Some of that good in the clubhouse needs to start showing up on the field before it's too late in what promises to be a competitive American League Central.
Jeff Samardzija, Jose Quintana, John Danks and Hector Noesi were unable to make a quality start the first time through the White Sox rotation. On Friday, their offense was limited to a Micah Johnson bunt-single through the first 7 2/3 innings against Tommy Milone, and the team simply is being outplayed in all facets of the game.
According to MLB Network, in the Wild Card era, there have been five teams to start the season 0-4 and still reach the postseason: the 1995 Reds, 1999 D-backs, 2011 Rays, 2011 Brewers, and 2012 Braves. The 2015 White Sox believe they can become the fifth, despite their first 0-4 start since 1995 and their first home-opening loss since 2007.
"Right now, guys are probably trying, forcing everything," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "We haven't done a whole lot well. Pitching-wise, today with the hitting, you get a sense guys are trying to hit a five-run homer with one guy on. In the, end you're going to be better off when you go through this, but these guys gotta fight through it."
Having this sort of losing streak in the middle of the season often goes unnoticed. The 2005 White Sox, one of the more underrated World Series champions, lost seven in a row in August. This same losing streak coming at the start, coupled with the high expectations, produces the reaction everyone but the White Sox players are having.
"Four losses in a year is going to happen," White Sox second baseman Micah Johnson said. "It just so happens it happened right now early in the season. We are going to keep working. We come with enthusiasm every single day."
"You want to see more runs, you want to see the hitting and all that," Ventura said. "Right now, it's tough."
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn indicated before Friday's loss that he would wait to judge his ballclub after 60 games.
"Despite what I've read in some venues, we are not yet out of it," Hahn said. " ... There are a lot of high hopes and expectations, people waiting many months to see this team come together."