CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura gathered his team for a pregame heart-to-heart Saturday, not that his prospecting turned up any gold.
Ventura called a meeting in an effort to pull better play from his disappointing team. The White Sox then went out to lose a sloppy 3-2 decision to the Los Angeles Angels, one of the few teams in the American League with a worse winning percentage than theirs.
“It’s just at a point where I needed to say some stuff, and I did,” said Ventura, who didn’t care to reveal anything more about the gathering.
Injuries, horrendous defense and a sputtering offense have conspired to drop the White Sox into last place in the AL Central with a 14-20 record. The defeat to the 14-22 Angels, which included three errors and a passed ball, gave Chicago five losses over its past seven games.
White Sox captain Paul Konerko was a little more forthcoming about the rare team meeting and noted that Ventura was composed.
“It wasn't like [he jumped] us like crazy, but it also wasn't the old upbeat positive one,” Konerko said. “It was probably somewhere in the middle.
“Sometimes [after] meetings like that, it doesn't come out right away; it takes a few days,” he said. “It's kind of a delayed effect.”
The White Sox need it to take hold now, as they are in a stretch in which they play just three of 18 games at home to start the month of May.
Their issues have created a domino effect in which one thing seems to have an influence on another. Not only have injuries taken their toll on defensive and offensive consistency, but the lack of runs has made the poor play in the field look even worse.
Left fielder Dayan Viciedo just returned from his DL stint because of an oblique injury to deliver three hits Saturday. Second baseman Gordon Beckham said he could be a week away from a rehab assignment after breaking a bone in his left hand on the first road trip of the season.
“You know, everybody's working,” Konerko said. “It's a tough thing sometimes. This year it's been the mistakes we make, the hits we don't get. It's coming from a place of trying too hard.
“We have some good older players in here,” he said. “If we weren't going about it right, there would be issues there. It's just not the case. It's coming from a place of wanting to do so good.
“We've just got to figure out a way to find that happy spot where we're not trying too hard.”
The White Sox still have time to turn things around, especially during the current portion of the schedule. Of their next 12 series, 11 of them are against teams hovering around .500 or worse, with the Twins, Marlins, Cubs, Athletics, Mariners, Blue Jays and Astros all on the horizon.
“You know there are no guarantees, but this stuff happens,” Konerko said. “You hope like hell it’s not you or your team. But you know what, it’s our team so far this year. We have to realize that, and sometimes when you admit it and say, ‘Yeah, we’re that team right now,’ maybe it turns after that, instead of trying to fight it and deny it. I don’t know.
“I feel if we just keep going at it the right way, it’s going to [end],” he said. “You’ve got to believe that.”