Nobody affiliated with the White Sox wants to go through another miserable season like last year, and Robin Ventura's name is at or near the top of that list.
So, after the Sox looked very 2013-ish in a 5-1 loss to the Diamondbacks in front of 18,6212 bored fans Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field, Ventura didn't brush it off or talk about going out and getting them tomorrow.
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Nope. He got mad. Uncharacteristically mad.
Ventura gave a quick cap tip to Arizona starter Chase Anderson, who allowed 1 run on 2 hits over 5⅓ innings in his major-league debut, and then shifted the focus to his players.
"(Anderson) threw well, but it was pretty uninspired by us all the way through," said Ventura, who was a late arrival Sunday after missing Saturday's 4-3 loss to be at his daughter's Oklahoma State graduation. "It started from the first play of the game and continued on, and it stunk, pretty much the whole thing."
Actually, Ventura gave another quick cap tip to White Sox starter Hector Noesi, who gave up 3 runs on 8 hits over 6 innings while throwing a career-high 117 pitches, then quickly wrapped up his postgame media session.
"Hector pitched a heck of a game to at least give us a chance," Ventura said. "Everything else stunk. That's pretty much it. That sum it up for you? That's what it was."
Even at 19-20, the White Sox have seemingly had more ups than downs over the first quarter of the season, especially considering last year's 99 losses.
But they obviously are not meeting Ventura's expectations, especially all of the recent ragged baserunning and poor defensive play in the outfield.
After Moises Sierra and Dayan Viciedo both made gaffes in right field Saturday night, center fielder Alejandro De Aza completely misjudged Gerardo Parra's flyball leading off the game Sunday.
De Aza broke in, broke back, bumbled, stumbled and the next thing you know Parra was standing on third base with a triple that easily could have been scored an error. That set the tone for a sleepy effort, and sparked a rare Ventura tantrum.
"I don't know," Ventura said when asked why the Sox played such a poor all-around game. "They were just flat, couldn't get anything going. Something is going to happen. I don't know what yet, but something."
"Nah … maybe," Ventura said. "Just in the way you treat them and everything else."
Looking a lot like last season's offense -- the American League's worst -- the Sox scratched out just 4 hits and struck out nine times.
"You know, (Noesi) gave us a chance," Ventura said. "He was around the zone, threw strikes, all that. It's too bad for him. He pitched a good game and nobody else showed up."
Tyler Flowers said the White Sox tried to play a competitive game.
"I don't think it's lack of effort," he said. "We did seem a little, I guess lethargic could be the word. I couldn't tell, I really don't know.
"The guy (Anderson) did a good job shutting us down. I guess next time we need to pick up a little more rah-rah or something; that ought to keep everybody motivated and going. But again we didn't quit on that game or anything. That guy did better than we did."
Paul Konerko, who pinch hit in the ninth inning, agreed with Flowers.
"(Anderson) threw well," Konerko said. "Two weeks ago, Scott Carroll came up and threw a great game against Tampa Bay, and we didn't sit and say Tampa Bay (was bad), We said that he was really good.
"So that happens. Guys make good pitches, a lot of these guys make good pitches. I didn't face (Anderson), so I don't know, but he looked good.
"He was hitting his spots. A good pitch is a good pitch. It doesn't matter who it comes from or if it's his first start or whatever. He threw the ball great. Congratulations to him on a great first day. It was a big day for him, I'm sure, so congrats to him. We'll just move on."