Robin Ventura continued to receive the support of general manager Rick Hahn, who held his ground by backing his manager before the White Sox’ 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates Wednesday, their sixth in a row.
“From my standpoint, that hasn’t changed,’’ Hahn said before the game. “We are all in this together. Until a player is traded or there’s been a change on the staff or in the front office or with an advanced scout or whatever, we are all in this 100 percent together.’’
The combination of an underperforming 28-36 team and easygoing manager presents a made-to-order cry from a fan base for a change in the dugout. Those voices are heard on talk radio, in the stands and on social media.
If it’s ranting and raving Ventura’s detractors want, they got it in the fourth inning when he was ejected during the fourth inning after Melky Cabrera was ruled by umpire Alfonso Marquez to have interfered with Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli. That nullified Adam Eaton’s stolen base.
A vein bulging in his neck, Ventura said more than Marquez cared to hear and was tossed for the 11th time in his career.
“He showed support for us,’’ Cabrera said through an interpreter. “It was a really bad call. His reaction gave us that support, that we have to keep fighting, and that was important for us.”
Only hours before, Ventura said that, as calm as he appears on the outside, he has gone off behind closed doors with players.
“I have rant and raved before,’’ he said. “You don’t get to see that. You do have moments where you lose it and you’re more vocal, or you do something to get some. I’m not going to do it for everybody else to see just because they want to see it. Inside there, they get to see it.’’
Perhaps it was a horrendous scoreless streak – the Sox broke a 30 consecutive scoreless innings streak when Cabrera doubled in a run and scored on Avisail Garcia’s single in the sixth inning against right-hander Jeff Locke (4-3, 4.74 ERA) to cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 3-2 – that got it out of Ventura on this night.
Ventura said tipping the cap to the opposing pitcher is getting old because the Sox will continue to face good pitching, even better than what they saw Wednesday.
“Really, you have two choices,’’ Ventura said of the Sox bottom-of-the-barrel offense through their first 64 games. “You can either come in, fight like hell, scratch and claw or curl up in a ball. And nobody in there [Sox clubhouse] is going to curl up into a ball.’’
Ventura said he has considered any number lineup changes. When a reporter started a lineup question with, “Have you thought of …” he interjected with “It’s been thought of.”
The Sox have 10 hits in three games against the Pirates this week and were held to four hits or fewer for three straight games for the first time since 1985.
Sox starter John Danks (3-7, 5.16 ERA) did what he wanted to do, but only after giving up three runs in the first. Danks followed with six scoreless innings and finished with four strikeouts and no walks over seven. Danks gave up five hits, two after the first inning.
“We feel like we’re going to win every game; we have the guys to do it, but we’re just not doing it,’’ Danks said. “We’re not playing consistent baseball and hopefully that will turn around tomorrow.’’
NOTE: Fans wearing Blackhawks apparel can buy specially priced $15 tickets for Thursday night’s game.