White Sox third-base coach Joe McEwing played in New York and coaches in Chicago, so he’s no stranger to vocal criticism. And when the Sox played bad baseball to start this season, he understood why there was so much of it.
‘‘It’s the nature of the game,’’ McEwing said.
To what extent manager Robin Ventura and coaches such as McEwing were responsible — general manager Rick Hahn said everyone was accountable — McEwing knows poor execution, bad decisions and mental errors reflect poorly on them, even if that wasn’t what was taught during spring training.
‘‘We’re all in this together, all battling, and we all want the right thing — to play the game right and play the game clean,’’ McEwing said Wednesday. ‘‘Every one of us as staff members has busted our butt to put everyone in position to be successful.’’
While playing far-from-perfect baseball even during their six-game winning streak that ended Tuesday, the Sox are playing better.
‘‘We’re putting it together,’’ McEwing said. ‘‘We’re playing better defensively, and we’re getting good pitching and timely hitting. That’s a good chemistry for good baseball. And wins.’’
Sox starting pitchers had made six quality starts in their last seven games through Tuesday and had a 3.13 ERA in their last 12 outings. Mistakes are less glaring, although a misjudged fly ball by right fielder Avisail Garcia and a mistimed leap by shortstop Alexei Ramirez led to runs in the Indians’ 3-1 victory Tuesday. So it’s not quite a complete transformation, but the Sox feel better about themselves today than they did two weeks ago.
‘‘There has been a change,’’ first baseman Jose Abreu said. ‘‘The change is about the mentality to approach the game. Right now, we feel like we are going to win every night. That’s something we don’t have doubt about. That is key for us right now.’’
During the bad times, Abreu was saying the team needed ‘‘to come together.’’ McEwing said it has, but it took time because so many players — Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Rodon, David Robertson, Zach Duke, Dan Jennings, Adam LaRoche, Melky Cabrera, Geovany Soto and Emilio Bonifacio — are in their first season with the Sox.
‘‘The chemistry is coming together where guys are getting used to playing with each other,’’ McEwing said. ‘‘When you turn over a third of your roster, it’s going to take time to jell and start playing together.’’
McEwing sees 25 players pulling together and having each other’s backs, and nothing makes him happier. Nothing rankles him more, though, than hearing Ventura’s abilities as a manager questioned.
‘‘It’s totally unfair,’’ McEwing said. ‘‘Robin is a tremendous leader and a winner. The preparation he puts in every day, as much as he cares about winning and every individual in this clubhouse, it’s very unfair.
‘‘He’s been a gold medalist, a collegiate player of the year, a major-leaguer who had a tough rookie season, an All-Star and a bench guy at the end of his career. So he knows how tough it is in every aspect of this game, and he knows what every guy is going through in this locker room. He’s been there and done it all.’’
Players don’t always have each other’s backs, but they do in the Sox’ clubhouse.
‘‘I’m proud of all the good results we have been getting the last few weeks,’’ Abreu said. ‘‘We have to keep working. We have to do more things to become a better team. We have enough room right now to continue getting better, and we have to continue to work because I think we have all the elements, all the players, to compete and compete beyond 162 games.’’