It may be a little early to be scoreboard-watching, but White Sox manager Jerry Manuel found himself glancing at the Jumbotron on Sunday afternoon at the Coliseum.
Rather than checking out the American League scores, however, Manuel was trying to avert his eyes from the carnage unfolding before him.
The Sox were swept out of Oakland with a 10-0 loss to the A's, ending a series in which they were put through the rinse cycle. The A's outscored the Sox 32-5, including 26-1 in the final two games.
"The dot race was more exciting than the way we played," Manuel said.
Watching the seagulls dive-bombing for leftover nachos was more exciting than anything that happened on the field. The Sox committed seven errors in the series, including four by third baseman Jose Valentin, hit a combined .147 and posted a 9.37 earned-run average.
Oakland ace Tim Hudson (3-2) shut out the Sox on three hits over eight innings, while Todd Ritchie was off kilter for the first time in six starts.
Afterward, Manuel called a team meeting, something he does only once or twice a year.
"I told them we're going to be fine," Manuel said. "I like my team. I look forward to when Oakland comes to Comiskey and I issued them a challenge'Hey, let's see what happens in our ballpark.'"
The Sox are 0-for-Oakland for the second straight year, losing their 10th straight game to the A's and ending the trip at 3-4 with a one-game lead over Minnesota in the Central Division. After a day off Monday, the Sox begin a three-game series against Seattle on Tuesday night at Comiskey Park before the A's come to town.
Ritchie (2-2) took the loss, though the Sox defense deserved an assist. Valentin committed two errors, leading to runs on both occasions. After he made a wild throw to second base in the second on what would have been an inning-ending force, the A's scored three two-out runs. Valentin started the third by letting a Jermaine Dye grounder bounce off his chest, triggering another three-run inning.
"Jose has had his problems here," Manuel said. "A couple years ago he made four errors here at shortstop. This is his 'whatever' place."
Whatever is ailing Valentin when he comes to Oakland, it appears to be contagious.
"They do everything, we do nothing," Valentin said. "We have to play totally the opposite of that."
Magglio Ordonez also made an out-of-focus error in the third, allowing a single by Miguel Tejada to get past him in right and roll to the warning track as Eric Chavez scored the fifth run. Carlos Pena's bloop single made it 6-0, and Hudson could have finished it with his eyes closed.
Ritchie lasted five innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits while walking five. Four of the runs were unearned, thanks to the errors by Valentin and Ordonez, but the walks were what bothered Ritchie.
"Too many bases to give a pitcher like Hudson," Ritchie said. "There's no room for error. I can't be going out there walking people. My command was really bad today."
It was all bad for the Sox this weekend, but at least they don't return until August.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times