White Sox bats go quiet vs. Angels
South Siders manage just three hits against Halos pitching
ANAHEIM -- The idea of additional White Sox lineup changes, a suggestion presented by manager Ozzie Guillen following Tuesday's 2-0 loss to the Angels, was broached to A.J. Pierzynski after this 2-hour, 40-minute affair.
All Pierzynski could do is put forth a slightly exasperated laugh as he sat in front of his locker in the visitors clubhouse and throw out his own somewhat sarcastic change.
"What's he going to do? Hit me leadoff?" Pierzynski said. "You know what I mean? I don't know."
That laugh from Pierzynski and the final three words of the catcher's comment illustrate the true frustration permeating the White Sox offense. And where postgame changes talked about by Guillen are concerned, it's hard to pick which move to make with most of the hitters fighting through on-field doldrums.
For the second game of this four-game set at Angel Stadium, Guillen pushed Jermaine Dye into the cleanup spot and dropped Paul Konerko to No. 5. Dye entered the game with 11 hits in his last 22 at-bats but finished 0-for-4 on Tuesday, including a game-ending, swinging strikeout against closer Francisco Rodriguez (16th save) with Carlos Quentin on second. Konerko also didn't produce a hit in three at-bats, slipping to .213 for the season.
Nick Swisher had a 0-for-3 showing, watching his average dive to .206, and Jim Thome's trio of hitless at-bats dropped his average to .209. Orlando Cabrera, who has led off in eight of the last nine games, has just one hit in nine at-bats during the first two contests against his former team.
So, what changes can Guillen make? As a beginning move, the White Sox manager wants to give a chance for some of these struggling hitters to sit back and breathe a little bit.
"I'm going to make some moves, hopefully to get some guys to relax a little bit tomorrow," said Guillen. "When everyone struggles, you try to find a way to find who is the one swinging the bat the best."
Those hitters spoken of by Guillen would be Joe Crede (.270, 25 RBIs), Quentin (.287, 29 RBIs, .399 on-base percentage) and Pierzynski (team-high .303 average), who accounted for all three White Sox hits against starter Jered Weaver, setup man Scot Shields (2-0) and Rodriguez. Guillen's most important decision is to figure out who is going to hit one and two, a choice which could involve a couple of the aforementioned hitters, and then build his attack from there.
Tuesday's paltry output left starter John Danks with a no-decision, despite throwing scoreless baseball over 6 1/3 innings. The southpaw struck out five and walked two, but had to battle through a night in which he allowed at least one baserunner in every inning.
"I can't remember a 1-2-3 inning," said Danks, who threw 69 of his 99 pitches for strikes. "But it was a game where you have to battle and make the pitches when you need them. For the most part, that's what I did."
"Danks threw great, and it's a shame we couldn't get a win for him," Pierzynski added. "He deserved a better fate."
This particular game was decided in the eighth, when Torii Hunter opened the frame with a single off reliever Octavio Dotel (1-2). Left-hander Matt Thornton replaced Dotel to face left-handed-hitting Garret Anderson, who singled to right, putting runners on first and third. Mike Napoli followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to score Hunter, and Robb Quinlan added a run-scoring single off Scott Linebrink.
Dotel had bailed out Danks from a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the seventh, as he fanned Erick Aybar and Vladimir Guerrero to keep the game scoreless. That solid effort was rewarded with a loss one inning later.
Angels hitters echoed Pierzynski's sentiment toward Danks when talking about Weaver. After losing two straight starts in which he had given up 12 earned runs over 10 1/3 innings, Weaver yielded one Pierzynski single over seven frames.
"He deserved a win," Hunter said. "We just couldn't get the runs, because Danks pitched good, too."
"Weaver was pretty good," Pierzynski added. "He didn't make a whole lot of mistakes and didn't really fall behind a whole lot of hitters. But at the same time, we have to find a way to get something going."
More changes are in store for Wednesday, as the White Sox (18-20) try to get something going against John Lackey during his season debut. Pierzynski won't hit first, as he mentioned, but he could move to second as Guillen plays with ideas to jump-start his attack before this 2-3 road trip fades away any further.
"We'll move a couple of guys down," Guillen said. "When they go back swinging the way they can, we'll move them back."
"You see guys battling and not giving away at-bats or hanging their heads," Pierzynski said. "We aren't doing anything different. Hopefully, it will turn and turn quickly."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.