Amid A-Rod drama, Hahn staying focused on White Sox

Amid A-Rod drama, Hahn staying focused on White Sox
August 5, 2013, 7:00 pm
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Rick Hahn channeled Jay Z on Monday to emphasize the depths of the White Sox issues.

The White Sox general manager could have taken the easy way out and spent Monday’s pregame session dissecting Alex Rodriguez and the 211-game suspension he received early Monday -- a ruling A-Rod has chosen to appeal.

But Hahn mostly stayed away from the drama.

He chose instead to focus on his team, which is in the midst of its longest losing streak in 37 years. The White Sox, losers of 10 straight games, hope to avoid their longest losing streak since July 1956 when they take on the New York Yankees and their embattled slugger -- who won’t begin to serve his suspension until Thursday at the earliest.

“You’ve seen this team play recently: I’ve got 99 problems and A-Rod ain’t one of them,” Hahn said with a smile.

[Watch: Alex Rodriguez's pregame press conference]

Hahn’s smile wasn’t nearly as wide as he began to dissect the worst road trip in franchise history.

On Sunday, the White Sox lost for the third time in walk-off fashion on their seven-game trip -- the first winless road trip of seven games or more in team history. The White Sox, who dropped to 29 games below .500 and own the second worst record in the majors, averaged 2.1 runs per game in their stops at Cleveland and Detroit.

“We are in a bad spot in terms of our performance right now,” Hahn said. “It’s extremely frustrating for everyone associated with it and especially our pitchers. … I think we might have had eight quality starts in 10 losses. That’s tough to do.”

[More: A-Rod banned 211 games by Major League Baseball]

White Sox manager Robin Ventura admits the trip was made more difficult because of the late losses. The White Sox blew two late leads in Cleveland and lost on home runs by Jason Giambi and Carlos Santana before Torii Hunter singled in the winning run in the 12th inning on Sunday.

What has made the team’s problems more difficult is how a series of mistakes in almost every facet contributed to close losses. As much as Rodriguez, who will hit cleanup against Jose Quintana, can have an impact, Ventura said the team must to clean up mistakes to keep itself competitive.

“I’m not looking forward to face anyone,” Ventura said. “We have enough issues of our own trying to win a game. I’m not overly concerned he’s in the lineup.”

[Watch: Girardi says he'll play A-Rod]

Ventura’s bigger concern is why constant mistakes have happened.

One blunder happened in the eighth inning Sunday when outfielder Alejandro De Aza failed to tag up from third on a line drive to medium center field with the White Sox down a run.

Ventura thinks his players have received good instruction. He also said he doesn’t think he has bad players. He just believes they have tried too hard.

Asked about the play Monday, De Aza said “he had to go with the swing” and it was a line drive.

[More: Frank Thomas has strong opinions on A-Rod]

The leadoff man has made his fair share of outs on the bases this season. He has been thrown out on the bases eight times and picked off another six, per baseball-reference.com. He can’t explain why the mistakes have happened, just that they’re frustrating.

“It don’t feel good, because of the situation we are in,” De Aza said. “Every run is important. But like I said, it’s the game.”

Bad baserunning hasn’t been the only culprit and Hahn knows. He’s seen the defense give away extra outs all season. The bullpen has blown a few leads, too. And the offense, well it’s been poor all season.

“There’s a fair amount of issues that came to a head during this 10-game skid which hopefully ends (Monday),” Hahn said. “And stuff that will have to be addressed in the not too distant future.”