06/24/08 10:50 PM ET
Sox discuss Cubs struggles
Guillen knows team must play better to compete vs. rivals
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
Guillen also wouldn't put any extra significance on the three setbacks, giving the White Sox a 1-9 record in their last 10 games against the Cubs, despite the intensity built into these battles.
"I'd rather lose, if you pick one game, I'd rather lose against the Cubs than the Minnesota Twins," said Guillen, sitting in the visitor's dugout prior to Tuesday night's Interleague opener at Dodger Stadium. "I know it's about pride, and I want Chicago people to know there's not a bigger fan than Ozzie Guillen with the Chicago White Sox.
These two teams have now matched up 63 times in Interleague competition, with the Cubs holding a 33-30 edge heading into this weekend's three-game set at U.S. Cellular Field. Players can talk about these contests being just another notch on the schedule, but everything is magnified during the competition -- both good and bad.
Take the third-base situation for both teams, as an example. Both Aramis Ramirez and Joe Crede are having All-Star-caliber seasons, serving as true team leaders on offense. It was Ramirez who stepped up this past weekend, though, with four home runs and eight RBIs, while Crede finished 1-for-11 with one RBI.
In any other single series setup, momentary struggles for a top hitter such as Crede probably wouldn't even be noticed.
"Obviously, you want to do well in a series like that, the city series, but it's not going to happen every time," said Crede, who didn't have a chance to bounce back on Tuesday, as he was scratched with lower back stiffness prior to the game. "As a hitter, you will go through slumps like that. You just learn from those mistakes, keep your head up and move on.
"I felt like I took some good swings. I just got jammed a few times."
The White Sox, as a team, have followed Crede's advice and turned their focus to the Dodgers. Of course, the specter of the Crosstown Showdown moving to the South Side of town hangs in the balance, where the White Sox hope to show off their own 24-11 home dominance.
Guillen sounded a warning, though, how his team has to step up its overall game a notch in order to ultimately get to where it wants to go and avoid last weekend's problems at Wrigley Field.
"People want me to say stuff what they want to hear. I'm not going to say what they want to here," Guillen said. "I'm going to say what I feel, and I'm going to tell the truth. If they play Friday, Saturday and Sunday the way they played last weekend, then be careful because they're playing good baseball. We have to play better."
"Each team wants to win so bad, so a lot is magnified," Crede added. "In the grand scheme of things, it's only three games in the 162 that we play."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.