OAKLAND, Calif. — When Robin Ventura calls out his team in public, you take notes. You even go back the next day to see if the manager had calmed down yet.
On Monday, Ventura wasn’t backing down an inch.
A day after watching his team look sleepy in a loss to the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks and rookie pitcher Chase Anderson, Ventura expanded on his curt and even surly postgame session with media when he said “we stunk.”
“It was just flat,’’ Ventura reiterated Monday before the Sox opened a nine-game road trip with a 5-4 loss to Jesse Chavez and the A’s. “I could tell right when I walked in [Sunday]. You’re trying to get them going, and it was flat the whole time.’’
Ventura, who had been away to attend his daughter’s college graduation, had already seen too many runners picked off or thrown out at third base on grounders to the shortstop during the week, and then arrived just in time to see center fielder Alejandro De Aza misplay Gerardo Parra’s fly ball into a triple to start the game.
“The first play kind of set me off from there,’’ Ventura said. “It was just flat the whole time, and the position we’re in with as many guys hurt and the way we’re trying to get through this period right now, you can’t come out flat.’’
Sox hitters tipped caps toD-backs pitching but Ventura had a thought of his own.
“It has nothing to do with that. I can tell the way we are by the way it is in our dugout; I can tell,’’ Ventura said. “You can either give in to it or you can try and change it. And I didn’t think anybody tried to change it.’’
On Monday, the Sox scratched out five hits against Chavez, including homers by Dayan Viciedo (his third) and Jose Abreu (14th). John Danks (3-3) gave up three runs over six innings, including two-run homer by Josh Donaldson.
Ventura seldom goes public with such issues. Handling things behind closed doors is a trait general manager Rick Hahn prefers. But this was an exception.
The Sox are 5-6 since May 2 when center fielder and leadoff man Adam Eaton went out with a hamstring injury.
“We need [Eaton] back,’’ said first-base coach Daryl Boston. “When he’s in there we don’t have those moments. He makes everybody else better just with his effort alone. We sorely miss him.’’
“You want those guys to be in there and it’s different when he’s in there,’’ Ventura said. “We’ve also been playing this way for a while and it’s been there. So whoever is in the lineup, it’s their responsibility to do it. That’s where I’m at.
“It’s your responsibility of showing up every day and what it’s supposed to be like every day. And that wasn’t there [Sunday].’’
NOTES: Chris Sale (left flexor muscle strain) will pitch in a game for the first time in 28 days when he makes an injury rehabilitation start for Class AAA Charlotte in Durham on Thursday. Sale’s next scheduled throw day and location will be determined after Thursday’s start.
◆ Adam Eaton (right hamstring) is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Charlotte on Wednesday.
◆ Right-hander Maikel Cleto, who was designated for assignment on Saturday, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Charlotte.
◆ Jose Abreu was still favoring his sore left ankle during his home-run trot in the ninth inning.
SOX AT ATHLETICS
Monday: John Danks (3-2, 4.93 ERA) vs. Jesse Chavez (2-1, 2.47), 9:05 p.m., Ch. 26, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.
Tuesday: Scott Carroll (1-2, 3.63) vs. Drew Pomeranz (2-1, 1.45), 9:05 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.
Wednesday: Andre Rienzo (3-0, 4.56) vs. Tommy Milone (1-3, 4.54), 2:35 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.