CHICAGO -- Mired in 2-for-34 hitting woes, Carlos Quentin was dropped from third to sixth in Thursday's order. Quentin didn't seem to mind the switch.
"No. As long as I get a chance to hit," Quentin said. "I would say the same thing hitting in the sixth hole. That decision was made to help the team win. I'll compete with every at-bat I have and like I said, we'll all look for good things to happen."
Manager Ozzie Guillen wants Quentin to return to his more selective ways at the plate, put on display during his 2008 breakout year, when Quentin had a .394 on-base percentage. As of Thursday night, Quentin had 11 strikeouts and nine walks, along with a team-high four double-play grounders.
"One thing about Carlos, he's seen a lot of pitches in the past," Guillen said. "Now, whatever he sees he swings at. Last night, his last at-bat, I don't think he swung at one strike. I don't think it's just Carlos, anybody, use me as an example. When you swing at bad pitches, you're going to make a lot of outs."
"I'm a little aware of how I feel in the box," Quentin said. "Some days I feel good, and some days I haven't. Obviously the results are what they are now. I'll look to get better, and I will."
Don't judge rotation by the numbers just yet
CHICAGO -- Coming out of Spring Training, the White Sox starting rotation was pegged a notch or two above being considered one of the team's strong suits. Some pundits listed this group of arms as the best one through five in Major League Baseball, let alone the American League.
That reputation hasn't exactly played out through the first 16 games, as White Sox starters carry a 5.58 ERA into Friday's series opener against the Mariners. But Don Cooper, as fiercely protective of his charges as any pitching coach in the game, believes early appearances can be a bit deceiving.
"If you look at [Mark] Buehrle's starts, he's had four and been good in three of them. If you look at Gavin [Floyd], he's had one good, and maybe 1 1/2, because he pitched six innings and gave up four runs in Toronto," Cooper explained. "I think [Jake] Peavy has been [good] one out of three.
"Freddy [Garcia] has been one out of two. One good and one bad. [John] Danks has been good three out of three. The unfortunate thing is when we have been bad in starts, it has been a poor game, a terrible game. That's going to really make the numbers look poor."
Peavy's seven runs allowed and seven walks issued over 4 1/3 innings during Thursday's 10-2 loss to the Rays can be added to the negative side of the starters' ledger. Wednesday's 12-0 loss to Tampa Bay also provided an example. Buehrle gave up six runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings, although six of those nine hits weren't exactly stroked solidly, but the game escalated out of control after the left-hander exited.
Buehrle has made enough starts over the past decade to find his share of great success and some amount of mound failure. So, the veteran southpaw understands not close to every start out of 33 or 34 will be perfect.
For Cooper, it's about how the team finishes as opposed to the individual hurler. And the team has not been finishing well in 2010.
"My main thing or my best thing to say about a starter is how many times does he give our team a chance to win the game?" Cooper said. "Give the team a chance a chance to win. Confidence is a huge thing in professional athletics, but I don't think any of the pitchers on this staff have lost confidence."
"Every one of us will have 10 that will be bad if not shaky," said Buehrle, who has a 2-2 record among the White Sox starters 4-7 start. "Hopefully, we are getting them out of the way. Obviously, just like the offense and defense, nobody is trying to lose games or give up runs. We are trying to do the best we can to win these games. It's just not happening for us."
Beckham gets a break
CHICAGO -- Gordon Beckham was given a well-deserved day off on Thursday, after playing in the first 15 contests this season. The second baseman currently is mired in a 2-for-17 slump, so a chance to step away from the game for a night could be helpful.
But after starting his rookie year with 0-for-14 and 2-for-28 funks, Beckham can has shown he can handle any sort of offensive struggles.
"As bad as I felt last year, I mean this isn't even close to how bad I felt last year," Beckham said. "Coming up, us not winning, not hitting at all -- not at all -- I mean at least I've hit some doubles, hit a home run and driven some balls well."
Last year's slump came to an end with two hits against the Cubs on June 18. By the end of the month, Beckham was batting .278.
When asked if American League pitchers were approaching him differently in 2010, Beckham didn't think adjustments were causing his slump.
"They might be, but I don't notice that stuff," Beckham said. "I notice when I'm missing pitches that I should hit and right now, I'm not hitting pitches that I should and that doesn't matter what they throw up there. If I'm not hitting, I'm not hitting.
"If I'm hitting well, I should be able to hit about anything. So, that's the way I look at it. The mythical book is a myth to me."
Walks prove troubling to Williams
CHICAGO -- The free pass has been a major issue for left-handed reliever Randy Williams in the two or three outings where he has struggled this season. Williams walked home the go-ahead run in Toronto on April 12, when he threw four straight pitches out of the strike zone to left-handed-hitting Adam Lind, and Williams walked three without retiring a batter during a six-run sixth on Wednesday.
Cooper pointed to the 36-degree temperature as a possible problem for Williams against the Rays. He did not want to make excuses, though, for an inability to throw strikes.
"We still believe if it's sub-zero, we can throw the ball over the plate and make a guy hit," Cooper said. "That's where he went wrong. My advice was, 'Babe Ruth had a bad day once in a while, so get ready to go today. Your name might be called.'"
"You look at the balance, and the percentage he did good is better than when he did bad," said Guillen of Williams, who has fanned 11 and walked 12 unintentionally in 9 1/3 innings. "He's just had two bad outings, Toronto and here, and we've been using this guy a lot."
Williams worked three innings in relief of Jake Peavy on Thursday, allowing three runs in the eighth, but striking out three. He walked two, one intentionally.
Third to first
Guillen refused to refer to his postgame chat with the team on Wednesday as a meeting. "I don't call that a meeting," Guillen said. "When I have a meeting, a lot of stuff comes out of my mouth. It was a talk, more for me than for them." ... Sergio Santos has not allowed a run in seven relief appearances, covering seven innings. He has fanned 10 and allowed two hits. ... Mark Kotsay snapped an 0-for-12 streak with a fourth-inning bunt single on Thursday.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.