On the subject of team chemistry and the value of a good vibe in the White Sox clubhouse, a questioner wanted to know from veteran Jimmy Rollins if it will be worth something when they go into a slump.
So when you drop four or five in a row…
“What did you say?” Rollins asked.
If and when you drop four or five in a row …
“I don’t even know what you’re talking about.’’
But you know what I’m saying.
“No, I don’t.’’
OK then, Jimmy. Get what you’re saying.
Rollins is having nothing of negative thoughts about a losing streak. The Sox, defeated 7-3 by the Boston Red Sox Thursday night before 20,126 at U.S. Cellular Field, sent AAA callup Erik Johnson out to win the rubber game of a series and lost for the second night in a row to drop a series for only the second time. They fell to 19-10, still owning the best record in the American League.
Johnson was sent back to Charlotte after the game, leaving the next fifth-starter audition for perhaps Miguel Gonzalez or Jacob Turner from AAA. A corresponding roster move will be made Friday.
“I know I have more to offer for this team and I know I expect more out of myself,’’ Johnson said.
The Sox have enjoyed winning streaks of six, five and three and haven’t lost more than three straight. The Minnesota Twins (8-20) are up next, in town for a weekend series.
Rollins, 37, a two-time World Series participant with the Philadelphia Phillies whose veteran presence has clicked in the Sox clubhouse, is ignoring the prospect of a losing streak.
“You have to have that [good] vibe,’’ he said. “As [Phillies manager] Charlie [Manuel] used to say, when you win everything is easy and you’re going to have fun. So it’s up to us in this clubhouse to keep that going every day.
“The mission is winning every day and nothing else. If you win, you have fun and the vibe keeps going. If you lose that vision, the vibe will go. No one wins purely on talent.’’
Johnson, the first replacement for fifth starter John Danks, wasn’t much better than the released lefty. He needed 108 pitches to get through five innings, allowing four runs on three walks and eight hits, including home runs to Dustin Pedroia (first inning) and Hanley Ramirez (third inning).
This was one of the more unsightly losses for the Sox, who were giftwrapped nine walks from Red Sox pitchers but left 11 men on base and went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position in a game that ran close to four hours long. The Sox got a home run from Avisail Garcia to knock out Henry Owens in the fourth, but they should have had more against the left-hander who walked seven, including Rollins three times in the first four innings.
The Sox were within 4-3 in the fifth when backup catcher Hector Sanchez walked on a 10-pitch at-bat with the bases loaded. With one out, Austin Jackson flied to short right and Lawrie was thrown out at home by Mookie Betts.
Manager Robin Ventura challenged that catcher Ryan Hanigan got his foot in Brett Lawrie’s slide path, violating the collision rule but the call held up.
“Obviously I beat the throw,’’ said Lawrie, who rolled an ankle slightly on the slide but was OK. “He blocked me.
“I mean, I thought I was in there because I got through him.’’
In the sixth, Jackie Bradley Jr. led off with a home run against Matt Albers that made it 5-3 Red Sox and halted Albers’ streak of 35 innings without an unearned run.
Dan Jennings walked the first two batters he faced in the eighth, and Xander Bogaerts and David Ortiz drove them in to make it 7-3.