CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox strengths going into the season were said to be their pitching staff from 1-12 and a defense that made the fewest errors in baseball in 2012.
The pitching part of that equation had mostly held true until the bullpen misfired over the weekend during back-to-back losses to Minnesota, and redemption did not come on Monday evening.
Setup man Matt Thornton was unable to preserve a one-run lead for starter Dylan Axelrod, who left after six solid innings of work having allowed one run. The veteran lefty Thornton gave up two runs in the eighth, making a costly throwing error on a pickoff throw that sailed into the outfield to set up the tying and go-ahead runs. Cleveland shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera drove in both runs with a base hit after the damaging error.
“If you have been winning games that doesn’t hurt as much,” Thornton said. “When you have a string of losses going and you make a mistake that costs you a game it is frustrating.”
Entering the Indians series, Chicago’s pen led the American League with the lowest batting average against (.153) and was third in the league with a 2.22 ERA.
The team’s 13 errors in 19 games are particularly hard for manager Robin Ventura and his staff to deal with.
“It is just one of those things when you keep shooting yourself in the foot,” Ventura said. “If you keep giving major league teams chances they are going to take advantage of them. Until we clean it up we are going to lose games.”
Ventura and his staff have been putting extra time in with early fielding practice for the players. Once again on Monday afternoon the club was out early taking infield and outfield reps that you would normally see more often in spring training.
“As far as us playing defense (this poorly), you don’t see it coming,” Ventura said. “Every night you are making that one mistake and at this level it is going to hurt every time you do it.”
The White Sox have lost four straight and 10 of their last 13.