Another sloppy night for White Sox
White Sox starting pitcher Erik Johnson leaves the game against the Detroit Tigers during the fourth inning Tuesday after getting very little help from his defense.
When he was dominating minor league hitters earlier this season while combining to go 12-3 with a 1.96 ERA for Class AA Birmingham and AAA Charlotte, Erik Johnson pitched 142 innings and allowed just 4 unearned runs.
The 23-year-old starter got a well-deserved call from the White Sox on Sept. 1, and Johnson was hoping to roll his way through the rest of the season.
Unfortunately, he was instantly jolted with the bad vibe that has hovered over the Sox for much of the year.
In his major-league debut, a 6-5 loss to New York at Yankee Stadium last Wednesday, Johnson was responsible for 2 unearned runs thanks to his own throwing error.
In his first start at U.S. Cellular Field, on Tuesday night against the Tigers, Johnson got a firsthand look at last-place White Sox baseball.
The American League's worst defensive team was out in full force, headed by third baseman Conor Gillaspie, and the end result was a predictable 9-1 loss to Detroit.
"I had some tough breaks out there, but I thought I attacked the zone as best that I could," Johnson said after lasting just 32⁄3 innings and allowing 6 runs (2 earned) on 7 hits and 3 walks.
In 2 starts with the Sox, that is now 6 unearned runs in 92⁄3 innings for Johnson.
"He threw fine," manager Robin Ventura said. "We didn't help him at all. Pitch count-wise, if we're making a few plays here and there it's probably a different story.
"When you're playing clean behind him, it could be a different story. It's hard to judge. But again, some of the swings (Detroit) guys were having, it looks pretty good."
Gillaspie was pretty bad, and his 3 errors were the most in a game by a White Sox player since Andy Gonzalez also had the hat trick on Aug. 30, 2007.
First baseman Paul Konerko also made an error — ironically, dropping a wide throw from Gillaspie — and catcher Josh Phegley was charged with his eighth passed ball in 50 games.
All in all, pretty sloppy stuff, especially from Gillaspie.
"That's a little bit tough to deal with right now, obviously," Gillaspie said after his season error count swelled to 16. "I think in a day or two, honestly I don't think I'm going to remember two days from now that it happened.
"Obviously it was very difficult tonight and I can honestly say that's probably the worst I've ever felt playing defense.
"I can't say that there's too many days where I'm kind of hoping, hey, I hope the ball doesn't get hit. Tonight was one of those nights. If I wasn't human it wouldn't ever happen, but I try to stay positive and hopefully not dwell too much on it and come back tomorrow and practice hard and go at it."
Ventura, a six-time Gold Glove winner at third base during his playing days, isn't worried about Gillaspie.
"It would be one thing if he didn't care, but I know he cares a lot," Ventura said. "He's going to have to get over it. He's a young player, it's not easy, but he's going to come back. Everybody has a night like that."
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