Robin Ventura was pretty blunt in his assessment of Sunday’s White Sox loss:
The manager wasn’t too happy with the effort his team showed in a 5-1 defeat Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field, and perhaps he had good reason. The Sox offense did practically nothing, getting shut down by D-backs starting pitcher Chase Anderson, who was making his major league debut.
Here’s a stat that says it all: In only one inning did the Sox send more than three hitters to the plate.
“(Anderson) threw well, but it was pretty uninspired by us all the way through,” Ventura said after the game. “It started from the first play of the game and continued on, and it stunk, pretty much the whole thing. (Sox starter) Hector (Noesi) pitched a heck of a game to at least give us a chance, everything else stunk.”
There’s no doubting the lifelessness of the Sox bats Sunday, but Ventura might have placed a little too much of the blame on his team’s shoulders. After all, Anderson was excellent. The rookie tossed 5 1/3 innings, facing the minimum until a sixth-inning home run by Moises Sierra, which accounted for the only Sox run. Tyler Flowers followed the long ball with a walk to chase Anderson, despite the hurler’s low pitch count of 74.
Still, Anderson’s outing was terrific.
“He had good command, he got ahead of guys, good change up, used it effectively,” Flowers said. “It seemed like his change up was an effective pitch for him in fastball counts. He did a good job mixing it up, mixing in the occasional breaking ball.”
Adding insult to the Sox one-run, four-hit day was what happened back on April 15, when Anderson, then pitching with Double-A Mobile, was a loser against the Sox Double-A affiliate in Birmingham. Anderson pitched well that day, allowing just one earned run, but he took the loss. Not so much against the Barons’ big league counterparts.
When asked how the Sox could have such a poor offensive showing, Paul Konerko offered some perspective, likening Anderson’s performance to the one of Sox pitcher Scott Carroll exactly two weeks ago. Carroll shut down the Tampa Bay Rays that day in his major league debut.
“(Anderson) threw well,” the captain said. “A week ago or two weeks ago, Scott Carroll came up and threw a great game against Tampa Bay, and we didn't sit and say Tampa Bay sucked, we said that he was really good. So that happens. Guys make good pitches, a lot of these guys make good pitches. I didn't face him so I don't know, but he looked good. I was watching him on TV. He was hitting his spots. A good pitch is a good pitch. It doesn't matter who it comes from or if it's his first start or whatever. He threw the ball great. Congratulations to him on a great first day. It was a big day for him, I'm sure, so congrats to him. We'll just move on.”
Flowers agreed that the evaluation of the team not trying — Ventura said nobody showed up aside from Noesi — wasn’t necessarily accurate.
“I don't think it's lack of effort,” Flowers said. “We did seem a little, I guess lethargic could be the word. I couldn't tell, I really don't know. The guy did a good job shutting us down. I guess next time we need to pick up a little more ‘rah-rah’ or something, that ought to keep everybody motivated and going. But again, we didn't quit on that game or anything. That guy did better than we did.”
Still, Ventura wasn’t pleased, and he made it sound like there would be ramifications other than just a game in the loss column.
“They were just flat, couldn’t get anything going,” he said. “Something is going to happen. I don’t know what yet but something.”