White Sox manager Jerry Manuel was worked up even before Saturday night's excruciating 12-8 loss to the Rangers.
He approached reporters while they were interviewing Frank Thomas to point out that only one had used his quote from a day earlier praising Thomas for his work ethic.
Instead, Manuel was portrayed solely as having criticized Thomas for eschewing a high on-base percentage in his quest for home runs.
"The news is that he's a hard worker," Manuel said Saturday. "And if he makes his mind up to do something, he can do it."
It became clear Saturday that Manuel has far greater problems than Thomas' 1-for-16 slump. Namely, Bartolo Colon.
A day after Esteban Loaiza gave up a season-high seven runs to Texas, Colon gave up nine, tying a career high. He hadn't allowed that many since June 30, 2001, while pitching for Cleveland.
By recording only nine outs, Colon had his shortest outing since Oct. 4, 2001, when he lasted 1 1/3 innings at Kansas City.
"It shows you that anybody's good stuff--or great stuff--doesn't work without [good] location," pitching coach Don Cooper said.
The Rangers jumped on Colon in the first. After Colon issued back-to-back walks, Mark Teixeira ripped a two-run double and backup catcher Todd Greene hit a three-run blast.
Trailing 5-0, the Sox went to work on former Sox farmhand Robert Ellis. They batted around and took a 6-5 lead, thanks largely to Sandy Alomar Jr., who homered and drove in two more runs with a double. Carlos Lee also homered, giving him 25, one shy of his career high.
But Colon gave it right back, allowing four runs in the third. Left fielder Jason Jones ripped a 1-2 fastball 406 feet over the right-field wall to give the Rangers a 9-6 lead.
"You throw [Colon] a lifeline out there and he usually responds to that," Manuel said. "Tonight he didn't."
Reliever Dan Wright took the next beating. After Hank Blalock hit a two-run homer, Rafael Palmeiro drove in the Rangers' 12th run with a double.
That left the bullpen with a 7.41 ERA over the last 19 games and it left the Sox 1-5 on their road trip, which concludes Sunday.
The only good news is that they remain two games behind the Royals in the American League Central. The Twins, however, are also only two games back after trouncing Kansas City 14-5.
"I knew at some point there would be a bump in the road for us," Manuel said. "But the good thing is that we're still there."
After having watched his team's offense sputter in Anaheim, Manuel said the Sox would need Thomas to provide the spark. He also said he hoped Thomas would emphasize RBIs and on-base percentage over home runs.
"I think I'm more helpful to the team setting the tone with a big bat," he said Saturday. "I've had some big games with homers and doubles, and I've definitely gotten away from looking for bloopers and base hits. Sure, I can take my walks. But [then] you lose that aggression."
After fanning three times Friday, Thomas was given Saturday off.
"Obviously, Jerry's getting a little frustrated with our offense if he's making those type of comments specifically directed my way," he said. "You've got seven guys in this locker room that are All-Stars, basically. We've got a very powerful lineup.
"We just went through a little funk here after playing so well for a long period."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times