‘I’m disappointed. This is on me,’ White Sox manager Pedro Grifol says

The White Sox are 20 games below .500 after dropping the crosstown series opener to the Cubs.

SHARE ‘I’m disappointed. This is on me,’ White Sox manager Pedro Grifol says
White Sox manager Pedro Grifol watches his team.

White Sox manager Pedro Grifol took responsibility for the team’s disappointing performance this season.

Frank Franklin II/AP

Pedro Grifol boldly predicted things would change the day he was hired as manager of the White Sox.

They haven’t. In fact, things are worse. Much worse.

After the White Sox went 81-81 in Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa’s final season, Grifol was given his first managerial job with the expectation he would change the culture and reverse the team’s course after what was viewed as the most disappointing Sox season in memory. He said the Sox would be fundamentally sound, play with passion, earn the trust of fans and “play winning baseball every night.”

Grifol recalled that day before the Sox fell to 41-61 with a 7-3 loss to the Cubs, and he took responsibility.

“I’m disappointed. This is on me. It’s simple,” Grifol said. “I sat there and I told everybody that we have high expectations here, and I was going to lead us to where we want to go. And it’s not happening.”

Grifol should know it’s not all on him. But there’s no harm in voicing accountability. He said he won’t quit trying.

“We’re trying to get better,” he said. “I am disappointed, and there’s no excuse for it. I am the manager of this team, and this thing falls on me. I’m not going to run from it, I’m not going to hide from it, but I am going to work to get it better.”

Grifol walked into roster-construction issues beyond his area of responsibility. He lost his closer, Liam Hendriks, to a serious illness and sore arm. And there were other injuries to Eloy Jimenez and Yoan Moncada, and subpar performances from two former All-Stars: shortstop Tim Anderson and starting pitcher Lance Lynn. The team has been below average defensively at the key positions of shortstop and catcher, as well as second base.

The Cubs stole five bases Tuesday.

“There’s a ton of different components, and we’re addressing all of them,” Grifol said. “There’s no stone unturned here, believe me, when it comes to us trying to get this thing right, trying to finish strong and move on to next season. There’s a style of baseball that we want to play. There’s a culture that we want to build. It hasn’t happened. And that’s on me. On me, nobody else.”

Grifol never criticizes players publicly, but “it doesn’t mean I’m not having difficult conversations with them. It just means I’m not going to sit here and tell you guys about it,” he said.

“But believe me, I don’t have my eyes shut and say, ‘Oh, we’re doing good.’ This is not what I signed up for. So whether it’s personnel changes or whether it’s cultural changes or whatever the case may be, it’s going to happen. This is too good of an organization, too good of an owner for it not to happen. We’re in the process of that. And at the same time, we’re in the process of preparing to beat the Cubs tonight.”

Prepare as they might, Michael Kopech gave up three homers, had four bases stolen on him and allowed five runs (four earned) on nine hits and one walk. The unearned run came after Anderson’s throwing error before the first of Dansby Swanson’s two homers.

“We have to do a better job controlling the running game,” Grifol said.

Moncada was robbed of a grand slam by Cubs right fielder Seiya Suzuki in the Sox’ two-run seventh inning. Moncada settled for a sacrifice fly when a slam would have made it 7-5.

So it goes when a team is going bad.

“It’s been a fight this year,” Kopech said, speaking of his own performance but also of the Sox’ as a unit. “It’s been ups and downs.”

At 20 games below .500, it’s as down as the Sox have been since 2019.

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