Ventura's pregame message fails to get immediate results
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White Sox starter Jose Quintana talks to catcher Tyler Flowers during the third inning, when the Angels scored the go-ahead run on a Flowers passed ball.
I strolled back from the interview room to the White Sox' clubhouse with manager Robin Ventura following Friday night's sloppy 7-5 to the Angels at U.S. Cellular Field.
When you've been in the game for as many years as Ventura, you realize how long the season is and take the good with the bad.
Ventura is a master of quickly forgetting the latest win — or loss — but he was clearly miffed by the Sox' poor play on the walk to his office. Before Saturday night's game against Los Angeles, Ventura did some venting.
"It wasn't like jumping us like crazy, but it also wasn't the old upbeat positive one," captain Paul Konerko said. "It was probably somewhere in the middle."
Never one to delve into details, the manager acknowledged he called a rare team meeting. "Stuff just needed to be said," Ventura said. "It's just at a point where I needed to say some stuff, and I did."
I don't recall Ventura calling any meetings last season, and I do remember his dislike for them as a player. That should tell you something about the current state of affairs with these White Sox.
Offensively, regulars Adam Dunn (.137 batting average), Tyler Flowers (.180), Jeff Keppinger (.193), Konerko (.220), Alexei Ramirez (.246) and Alejandro De Aza (.252) still are irregular six weeks into the season.
Defensively, the Sox have been equally inept, and more sloppy play on defense cost them dearly in Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Angels. With the game tied at 2-2 in the third inning, Albert Pujols singled off White Sox starter Jose Quintana with one out.
After Mark Trumbo flied out, Josh Hamilton grounded to second baseman Tyler Greene. Rushing his throw to Dunn at first base, Greene was charged with an error, allowing Pujols to advance to third base.
For the second straight game, catcher Tyler Flowers was charged with a passed ball in a critical situation, the latest allowing Pujols to score the deciding run.
"It's one of those that you know you just can't do it," Ventura said. "Q after the early homer (a 2-run shot by Mike Trout in the first inning), he just has guts. He kind of battled his way through it. He was bobbing and weaving and they had some guys on. He did well enough to keep us in it and give us a chance.
"I think playing-wise, we aren't helping him. You do have to do it better. It's that simple."
Konerko is hoping Ventura's pregame talk eventually will pay off.
"Sometimes meetings like that, it doesn't come out right away, it takes a few days, it's kind of a delayed effect," Konerko said. "You know, everybody's working. 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. It's not work related.
"When you're in here and you're with everybody all the time, we have some good older players in here. 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."
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