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08/30/07 2:41 AM ET
Eighth straight road loss for White Sox
Guillen questions players' heart after 15th loss in 18 games
By Ken Daley / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The pressure and the fury within Mount Ozzie has been building, month after disappointing month. And after the White Sox blew a seventh-inning lead and managed just five hits Wednesday in an 11-inning loss to Texas, the eruption could be contained no longer. "If it's my fault, well I should be moving out of here then," manager Ozzie Guillen declared after the 5-4 loss before 23,704 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. "If it's my fault we play like that, fire me and I'll be fine. "But I have a job to do. I get paid a lot of money to make this ballclub work. But, it's not easy to work with people like that. It's not easy." Guillen never named a source of his consternation, instead issuing a blanket indictment of an underachieving team that is following a 2005 world championship with what the manager considers a lackadaisical free-fall into last place just two years later. In a 4 1/2-minute tirade to reporters, who managed to ask only one question before he stormed cursing from his office, Guillen questioned the desire and professionalism of his players. He even wondered aloud whether they cared about their embarrassing 57-76 record, second only to Tampa Bay (53-80) as the worst in baseball. "It's killing me, it's killing my family," Guillen said. "It's killing my coaching staff, it's killing White Sox fans, it kills the owner. It's killing everyone. I just hope it's killing [the players] the same way we feel. "I hope somebody out there [in the clubhouse] cares the way we care." Guillen had ample reason to be frustrated Wednesday, starting with the fact his team lost for the 15th time in 18 games and was defeated on the road for the eighth consecutive time. The Sox had a 4-2 lead heading to the bottom of the fourth, scoring three unearned runs gifted by a Texas team that committed a season-high four errors. But starter Jon Garland gave back another run in the bottom of the fourth before the Sox bullpen blew his 4-3 lead in the seventh when pinch-hitter Sammy Sosa delivered a game-tying double against lefty reliever Matt Thornton. A walk, another Texas error and a sacrifice bunt gave the Sox a chance to regain the lead in the top of the ninth. But with runners at second and third with one out, strikeouts by rookies Danny Richar and Jerry Owens ended the threat. "I think we lead the league in strikeouts," fumed Guillen, whose team actually ranks fourth in that category. Two more baserunners went to waste in the top of the 10th before the Sox went down in order in the 11th, unable to improve upon their meager total of five hits. In the bottom of the 11th, the Rangers attacked Boone Logan (2-1) with a one-out single by Ian Kinsler, a double by Michael Young, an intentional walk to Marlon Byrd and a sacrifice fly by Sosa. Owens appeared to misjudge Sosa's liner to center, backing up a couple of steps before charging in for a shoestring catch. Owens then bobbled the ball while switching hands and never got off a throw as Kinsler dashed home with the game-winning run. "Eleven innings and we get five hits?" Guillen said. "You think you're going to win games like that? You're wrong. Everybody is blaming our pitching staff, but this offense is putting a lot of dirt in the grave, too." Guillen said he was willing to shoulder any blame others deem appropriate, but noted that he and his coaching staff can only do so much once the games begin. "If people want to put the blame on me, they can," Guillen said. "But everybody in that room should take a good look in the mirror. I've tried to be nice, I've tried to be mean, I've tried to be hard -- nothing works. I say, always, I'll take the blame. But it's tough to manage a club like that. "[Hitting coach] Greg Walker does not hit. Ozzie Guillen does not hit. [Pitching coach] Don Cooper does not pitch. I keep giving people an opportunity. I keep giving everyone a pat on the back. I wish I had played for a manager like that. Every time you fail, he [supports you] day in and day out? That's easy to play. "But a $100 million payroll and those guys don't show how much they make in the field? Well, [general manager Ken Williams], I don't want to say what he has to do. But if we're going to play like this and spend all that kind of money, I would chop the payroll and go with Double-A kids if we have to." Word of Guillen's tirade spread slowly through a nearly vacant postgame clubhouse. The few players willing to speak said they shared their manager's frustration, but not his assessment of the team's passion. "I know it's killing me, too," said catcher A.J. Pierzynski. "It hurts when we come here and lose. But I see guys playing hard. ... I didn't hear it, so I'm not going to try to interpret Ozzie's words." Owens, who admonished himself for his costly strikeout in the ninth, said, "We had some opportunities late in the game. I didn't get it done, and I expect to, 100 percent of the time. It's frustrating. "We're all unhappy. All the guys in this room are competitors, and we come out every day and fight and try to play hard. Nobody likes to lose. As athletes, it's sometimes easy to drop your head when you're losing, but I don't sense that one bit in this clubhouse. I know we're going to do our best to try and finish on a good note." Garland, who hasn't won a game since July 27, gave up three runs on eight hits over six innings. Technically, that's a quality start, though he needed 111 pitches to traverse those six innings. He also gave up at least one run in the bottom of each inning in which his offense had first scored. "He was better," Pierzynski said. "He made some good pitches. But, in the end, they got some hits when they had to and we weren't able to. Tonight, they were just better." Garland is 1-4 with a 7.55 ERA over his last nine starts, and the opposition has been better on many of those nights. Opponents are batting .341 against him in that span, and the Sox are 3-6 in his last nine starts. At least Jim Thome continued to punish the Rangers, adding two run-scoring singles and a double to his remarkable 2007 ledger against Texas. Thome is 8-for-11 (.727) with four home runs, six RBIs, seven runs scored and 11 walks in 22 plate appearances against Texas this year. He had reached base against the Rangers 16 consecutive times before lefty John Rheinecker struck him out in the eighth. Thome then grounded into a double play in the 10th. Afterward, Guillen remained adamant that no job was safe as Friday's postseason trade deadline and Saturday's roster expansion loom. "I'm tired of seeing this every day, day in and day out," he said. "And I don't want to spend a miserable September seeing the same [garbage]."
Ken Daley is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.