Williams frustrated with mediocre play
White Sox general manager believes club is underachieving
CHICAGO -- The cup definitely is not half-full where Ken Williams' view of the White Sox recently completed 3-3 West Coast road trip to Seattle and Oakland is concerned.
In fact, the frustrated general manager seems about ready to throw the proverbial cup against the wall.
"[Heck] no, I'm not happy with a lot of what I see," said Williams during a conversation with the media Monday evening at U.S. Cellular Field. "We're underachievers.
"Yes, we can be a dangerous playoff team, but you first have to play well enough, play smart enough, play intense enough, to where you show you want to be in the playoffs. It can't just be lip service. I don't want to hear it anymore. Get the job done."
What Williams doesn't want to hear is excuses based on youth or injury as to why arguably the most talented team in the American League Central sat at 60-58 entering Monday's series opener with the Royals. They were 2 1/2 games behind the Tigers, at a point when Williams thought the White Sox would be atop this division.
His West Coast ire was raised by Wednesday's 14-inning, 1-0 loss to the Mariners, as well as Oakland's comeback walk-off victory on Sunday afternoon. Those two games went into Williams' list of contests the White Sox lost that they should have won, a list that grew to 12 in 2008, by Williams' estimation, before the White Sox knocked off the Twins in a deciding Game No. 163 to claim the Central.
With 44 games remaining, the 2009 number for missed opportunities already has surpassed last season.
"Seventeen," said Williams, when asked for that present total.
This category is defined by Williams as not necessarily a game where the White Sox give away a late lead. Instead, it's about the team not taking full advantage of a game-defining inning. That description could play out in the White Sox having runners on first and second with nobody out and not getting the runners over, not getting a runner in from third with less than two outs or getting picked off third base with the game on the line.
Manager Ozzie Guillen described his team as "inconsistent," adding the White Sox sit in their current location because they make a lot of mistakes "to cost us a lot of games," even though Guillen believes this group is far better than a .500 team. Williams simply wants those situations to stop, helping produce a sustained run the White Sox eventually will need to catch the Tigers.
But don't confuse Williams' strong words as dislike for the group he has assembled.
"I know they want it," Williams said. "We've got a good group of guys here. Nobody would be here if I didn't feel that we had a good group that wanted it.
"We have a lot of talent out on that field. The fact of the matter is, we are simply not executing to the degree we need to execute to call ourselves playoff worthy. Period. We deserved what we've got."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.