What's the worst game you've ever seen an MLB team play? There's so many elements at work to any single-game performance. Outlandish final scores are often the result of just bad pitching and defense blowups and we rarely consider no-hitters and perfect games because there's too much deference offered to the virtuosity of the opposing pitcher. The White Sox' 13-3 Sunday dismantling at the hands of the Twins, capping a four-game sweep and a winless week, is not a worthy submission for consideration for any all-time standings for awfulness. The offense actually scored runs, one even of their entirely own making, there were some moments of decent pitching, but was still awe-striking for how completely devoid of hope and optimism in any area of the sport. Still, it probably won't even be the worst game an MLB team plays this month, so it's only chance to live on is to be the moment that Sox fan hope truly evaporated in 2015; when building concern crested and transformed into mobilized discontent, and unaimed but fully lethal calls for change started being launched.
- The difference between this game--where the Sox were roundly humiliated--and Saturday, where they played poorly and simply never really threatened to overwhelm their opponents is that they greased the tracks toward a more stunning demise with basic errors of play. John Danks gave up a deflating grand slam to Trevor Plouffe that boiled into a seven-run third inning, but he dropped a feed from Adam LaRoche while rushing to cover first that created the mess. Scott Carroll is never any great shakes, which only enhances the truth that Micah Johnson can't chuck a double play feed into left field without a four-run inning mushrooming. The Twins scored a run in this game when Geovany Soto blocked a wild pitch, fetched it as it kicked off his pad, then threw it no one in a fit of panic. The Sox are very likely not a very capable baseball team. When they take plays off, they're amateurs.
- Three runs would seem to indicate that something was brewing from Sox bats during this game, but this meager contribution was almost entirely offered up by Twins starter Mike Pelfrey. Pelfrey is typically a punching bag in his own right, but the Sox could only score off him when he switched the roles. His control completely collapsed in the top of the fourth with an otherwise certain win in hand, as he managed to plunk three batters, after walking Adam LaRoche to leadoff the inning. That they scored two runs off him, not just one, off of four baserunners, is to the credit of Avisail Garcia. Pelfrey departed in that fourth, and the Sox managed just one more tally--also knocked in by Garcia--the rest of the day off the Twins bullpen
- Avisail Garcia is "hot." He's gotten his average up to .342 just by smacking really strong singles all over the place. His slugging percentage is all of .430, because he has all of five extra-base hits all year. This player is not bad at all, if that's what Avisail is, it's just that his contact issues would insinuate that he's not going to make a living batting .340. It's not a foreign notion that he's never going to shake out that power hitter buried deep inside of him, but I don't know if he has the bat and footspeed to make a .090 ISO work either.
- There's going to be a lot of 'Fire Robin' chatter after this, as is natural when the team plays like a bunch of clowns who just finished an ample brunch. He's in charge of the outfit, and the outfit is terrible, and that's how responsibility works. "Fire the players" is a funny counter, but most of its humor is rooted in us knowing that's not how things work. Players are too valuable, and can't be reasonably replaced in a way that recharges a flagging season. You can replace Micah Johnson, but it would be for the guy that management didn't even want to give a chance to beat him out in Spring Training. You could toss Conor Gillaspie, but you don't turn to Gordon Beckham for the purpose of raising expectations. No one who moves the needle is floating around in May, or waiting to be dealt in exchange for your own flotsam. While we have the hardest time pinning down what managers do, what they're ultimately judged by is very objective. If the team is bad and executes poorly, the only real check on how much of it is the managers' fault is to replace him and see what happens; a quality comparison that never even occurred when Ventura was being interviewed. There's no way to fire your manager after less than 30 games without it being a knee-jerk decision, but acting mystified why the scrutiny comes down on the manager for a team's awful start is disingenuous.
Next game is mercifully not until Tuesday vs. Detroit at 7:10pm CT on CSN.