Bad pitching was the least of the Sox's worries this season. Despite a poor performance from John Danks, a total breakdown of the defense and baserunning helped augment the debacle on Thursday. Manager Robin Ventura was so distressed with the outcome, he cut his postgame press conference down to 9.8 seconds.
"We are still looking at a lot of the people that were here last year," Ventura said Friday. "You know what they are capable of and you know they could be better at it."
Ventura was admonishing his outfielders for bad defense and some of the baserunners, like Alejandro De Aza, for shoddy baserunning. An embarrassing effort is usually something a player or team can let go of with another game on the docket the next day, but that was not the case for some of the Sox players on Friday.
"Yesterday was the culmination of this year in one game," Gordon Beckham said. "It was a very frustrating game. That was one of the worst games I have ever been a part of. A lot of the things we haven't done well all year you saw manifest itself in that game "
White Sox captain Paul Konerko looks at September games like Thursday's blowout loss to Cleveland as a test for the professional baseball player.
"When you were a kid and said I want to be a big-leaguer, with that comes the responsibility to play the game right way," Konerko said. "It is not just hitting the home runs and making the money or winning the World Series. There is a big picture and you have to be prepared to do all those things that are outside the lines of just playing your own way. Some of those things are distractions and tough to deal with, but that is a part of being a big-leaguer as is playing the game the right way."
To honestly evaluate one game like the 14-3 blowout the White Sox suffered, you look at the next day and how the club reacts. In this case, that method will no longer work. It is evident some of the Sox players are starting to phone in their efforts.
"Is it tough to play this time of year? Yeah, it is," Konerko said. "It all comes down to a question of do you want to be professional? Do you want to earn your paycheck? Do you want to have integrity? It is about how you want to answer those questions. If those answers are no then you are going to have a problem. This is a job and you should go to work like everyone else in the world and do it right."