White Sox can't fight off brooms
Vazquez felled by big inning in fourth straight loss to Red Sox
CHICAGO -- If a witness protection program existed for Major League baseball managers, Ozzie Guillen seemed ready to enter following Sunday's 11-1 pasting dished out by Boston to the White Sox before 36,745 at U.S. Cellular Field.
"I should wear a different hat," said Guillen, as he walked into the postgame press conference wearing his full White Sox uniform.
Of course, Guillen made this particular comment for the amusement of the assembled media, as nobody has more pride representing the White Sox than Guillen himself. But after the Red Sox (80-51) completed a four-game annihilation of his charges, it would be easy to see how Guillen wanted to go into a brief period of hiding.
These four victories from baseball's best team took on record-setting proportions, marking the fourth time a team has scored 10 runs in each contest making up a four-game set since 1900. The St. Louis Browns were the last American League team to accomplish such a feat in 1920 and 1922, while the Colorado Rockies also hit this lofty target on offense in 1996.
For the weekend, Boston outscored the White Sox by a 46-7 margin.
"There's nothing I'm going to take away from them," said Guillen of the Red Sox drubbing. "But I think even if you try, you can't play on this [terrible] level that we do."
"It's tough, bro. It's tough," added White Sox starting pitcher Javier Vazquez, who tied a season-high with 10 strikeouts but also set a season-high with the seven earned runs he allowed. "It's embarrassing to lose four games, especially the way we've been losing. It's not even funny. We have to play better baseball and move forward."
Vazquez (11-7) has been the only member of the White Sox rotation to win a game since Aug. 5, when Gavin Floyd topped the Tigers. Despite seemingly having good stuff on Sunday, the right-hander was victimized by home runs from J.D. Drew, David Ortiz and Bobby Kielty over six innings.
Ortiz's 406-foot drive to left-center came on the first pitch he saw from Vazquez in the fifth, after Dustin Pedroia had singled home two runs to give Boston a 3-1 lead. The Boston attack picked up steam with two more in the sixth but needed four in the ninth against relievers Ryan Bukvich and Mike Myers to reach double-digits.
Three of those four runs in the ninth were unearned, as Ortiz's fly ball to left fell just to the right of Josh Fields' somewhat awkward attempt to make the catch. The play signified the first ball hit to Fields during his first Major League start in the outfield.
Playing five straight night games starting on Tuesday in Texas will give Fields a chance for extra pregame work in the outfield. But Guillen seems confident in Fields' ability to handle this position switch from third base during the season's final five weeks.
"He make the mistake but I no worry about that and I just told him not to feel bad about what happened," said Guillen of Fields. "This kid is going to be fine out there."
"Hopefully, I won't make the same mistake tomorrow," Fields added. "It was different. The ball came back to the infield and the wind blew it a little bit."
Jermaine Dye's solo home run with one out in the second, his 25th of the season, stood as the only run scored off of Julian Tavarez (7-9) and a trio of talented relievers in Manny Delcarmen, Eric Gagne and Jonathan Papelbon. The White Sox moved only one other runner as far as second base.
Cleveland's come-from-behind victory in Kansas City cut the White Sox elimination number to 17, as they lost for the fifth straight time and fell to 2-13 in their last 15 games. The White Sox (56-74) slipped to 18 games under .500 for the first time since ending the 1989 season at 69-92.
Boston recorded its first four-game sweep of the White Sox in Chicago since Aug. 5-8, 1988, and the Red Sox total domination marked the second time in the history of U.S. Cellular Field where the White Sox were swept four straight. These records and statistics simply add a little extra emphasis to this completely lost weekend.
"The scoreboard answers that question pretty easily," said Fields of the four-game sweep.
"At the same time, you have to always try to stay positive, no matter what's happening," White Sox leadoff man and center fielder Jerry Owens added. "We are frustrated the way the last couple of weeks have been going, but I know everyone is fighting hard and nobody is giving up. That's all you can really ask of yourself."
After joking about wearing a different hat into his interview session, Guillen added with a smile that he needed to take measures to not get recognized in public. But Guillen's White Sox pride shined through with his final comment of the day, referring to his team's last sweep of Boston back in the 2005 American League Division Series.
"Remember, they sweep this time," Guillen said. "But I sweep them in the big one, and it helped get me a ring. That's when it counts."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.