DETROIT — In a passionate defense of his boys, hitting coach Greg Walker defended the White Sox hitters before their game Saturday afternoon against the Tigers at Comerica Park.
“Actually, I think our scuffles are way overblown,” Walker said. “We’re averaging five runs a game. We’re fourth in the league in runs scored. We got a couple high-profile guys who haven’t got going yet. One of them [Adam Dunn] got operated on [April 6]. I’m not worried. We’re good. We’re averaging five runs a game and we got two of our big boys not even started. I’m just sort of sick of the negative [stuff], I really am. We’re not that bad.”
A couple of hours later, the Sox managed to scrounge up one hit in six innings against Tigers right-hander Brad Penny, and they lost 9-0 as Detroit pounded out eight hits against Sox starter Edwin Jackson. It was the Sox’ ninth loss in their last 10 games.
Walker pointed to the list of starting pitchers the Sox have faced in their streak of eight losses in nine games, a list that includes Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, David Price, James Shields and Justin Verlander.
“We faced the toughest pitching. You said that, and you guys are smart,” Walker told reporters. “Sit down and figure out who is going to be in the All-Star game this year’s pitching staff. Sit down and write down who you think is going to pitch in the All-Star game.
“Yeah, have we faced any of them? Or all of them? We’re good. We’re doing good. We’ve scored more runs off these tough guys than anyone else is doing off any of them. We have a tough stretch against tough pitching. We scored some runs off them. We’re battling. We’re not giving them away. There’s been one game where I was disappointed in our focus and effort. That was the second game against Anaheim [on April 16]. Other than that, our guys have been there battling. We’ve got a couple high profile guys [Dunn and Alex Rios] scuffling a bit. But overall, we’re scoring runs. We’re doing fine.”
Penny pitched like an All-Star against the Sox, but he hadn’t in his previous starts. He came in with an 0-2 record and 8.44 ERA. The hit he allowed in the sixth to break up his no-hitter could have been ruled an error on third baseman Brandon Inge. Inge backhanded a ground ball by Brent Morel behind the bag, straightened up and pulled first baseman Miguel Cabrera off the bag. The official scorer’s ruling was booed by the crowd of 35,227.
The Sox are were batting .192 with 32 runs in their last 11 games. Among the slumping: Gordon Beckham is in a 2-for-28 slump, Dunn 4-for-39, Morel 1-for-19, Rios 0-for-17, and Alexei Ramirez 1-for-14.
“I still believe in those guys,” manager Ozzie Guillen said after the loss. “We got great talent, but it’s time right now to get mean. It’s time to show people how good we are.”
“The thing you have to remember is someone is going to pay,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “And hopefully it comes sooner than later. Someone eventually will pay. Carlos [Quentin] and Paul [Konerko] are swinging the bat really well right now, and the rest of us need to catch up and do what they are doing. It’s a battle. It’s a long way to go. We are 21 games in and we have 141 to go. There’s still a long ways to go, hopefully tomorrow we can turn it around and go.”
Walker said Dunn will be fine when he gets his timing back. Direction is another issue.
“Hey, the guy was a dominant force until he had an appendectomy,” Walker said. “He’s had, what, six, seven, eight days back? Sit around and watch. He’ll be fine. ”
“His timing is off. He’s a big man. He’s got a lot of moving parts. He’s got to get his timing back. Because his timing is off, he’s been getting beat and cheating, trying to get the fastball. When he starts hitting fastballs, watch out. Because a lot of people are going to pay.”