Despite all the hoopla surrounding the arrival of exuberant manager Ozzie Guillen when he replaced Jerry Manuel, the White Sox are just one game better than they were at this point last season: 54-50 as opposed to 53-51.
Wednesday night's 11-0 loss to the bottom-feeding Kansas City Royals represents a low point in a promising season.
Struggling left-hander Brian Anderson (2-9), who won for the first time since April 20 in Cleveland, tossed a two-hitter, yielding just a leadoff double by Aaron Rowand in the first inning and a ninth-inning bloop double by Rowand in the ninth.
The Sox, who had won eight of their previous 10 games at Kauffman Stadium by outscoring the Royals 93-45, fell a season-worst six games behind the first-place Minnesota Twins, who defeated Anaheim on Wednesday night.
White Sox starter Scott Schoeneweis (6-9) lasted just 11/3 innings, allowing nine runs on nine hits. It was the shortest outing for a Sox starter since Sept. 12, 2003, when Dan Wright was yanked after an inning at Boston's Fenway Park.
Guillen said he will give Schoeneweis one more shot as a starter against Cleveland this weekend before determining his long-range fate in the starting rotation.
"It's their decision and obviously a game like that doesn't help my cause," Schoeneweis said. "Hopefully I can turn it around. I don't have anyone to blame but myself."
"We're [six] games back. I'm not sure if we were the favorites coming into this season. But losing Magglio [Ordonez] and Frank [Thomas] is tough," said Sox first baseman Paul Konerko.
"We might be as good as Minnesota. And there might even be a chance we are not as good as Minnesota. So maybe the underdog role is something we can rally around. That could be a good thing. In the past it always was, 'If you guys lose, it's going to be an underachievement.' Or, 'If you don't win the division, it's an underachievement.'
"This year if we don't win, I can't say it's an underachievement. It's going to have to be much more of a team effort to win the division than it would have been if, say, we had won it last year or the year before when there were a couple of guys carrying the load. Now it's going to have to be everybody chipping in."
The Sox squandered their only scoring opportunity in the first inning. Rowand led off with a double into the right-field corner. He advanced to third on a flyout by Juan Uribe. But Carlos Lee struck out, and Anderson induced a groundout by Konerko.
"There's not as much room for error now," Konerko said. "When we have opportunities to score runs, we have to cash in on them."
Said Rowand: "I'm not going to take anything away from [Anderson]. He threw a good game. We just didn't hit, and we need to pull together as a team and come out [Thursday] and try to win the series."
The Royals cashed in on their scoring chance in the bottom of the second against Schoeneweis. David DeJesus and Joe Randa led off with base hits to put runners on first and second. DeJesus moved to third on a flyout to right and scored on a single by Matt Stairs.
Abraham Nunez hit an apparent perfect double-play ball back to the mound, but Schoeneweis was slow and deliberate in throwing high to second for the force, and Nunez was safe at first without a throw.
"He gets himself in trouble," Guillen said. "We work on that play all year long. Pitchers can take themselves out of a jam by making those little plays."
"I have made that play a thousand times in my career," Schoeneweis said. "I got kind of tangled up and made a bad throw."
The Royals made the Sox pay for that indiscretion. Ruben Mateo followed with a two-run triple that escaped a diving Joe Borchard in right field. Angel Berroa then singled home Mateo for a 4-0 lead.
The carnage continued as John Buck hit a three-run homer for a 7-0 advantage.
Kansas City tacked on two more runs in the second inning when Randa scored on a double by Ken Harvey before Nunez bounced a one-out RBI single to chase Schoeneweis in favor of Jon Adkins.
"That ranks up there with one of the poorer outings," Schoeneweis said. "I wish I had an answer."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times