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Monday, May 27, 2013
Defense, not offense irks Ventura

By Doug Padilla

CHICAGO -- On a night his offense was thoroughly dominated, Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura seemed most peeved by the defense.

Had the White Sox been able to avoid some of the mental and physical miscues they made in the field Monday, it still wouldn’t have led to a victory over the Chicago Cubs, but that was beside the point. Ventura has been stressing defense ever since a poor opening five weeks ago with the glove, and Monday night felt like a setback.

The mental error came first when shortstop Alexei Ramirez failed to cover second base on a first-inning steal attempt by Starlin Castro. When Alfonso Soriano hit a ball off the left-field wall, Castro scored with ease and the Cubs’ offense would never look back.

In the seventh inning things got worse. First Tyler Flowers couldn’t corral a low pitch from Nate Jones that Ryan Sweeney swung at and missed for strike three. Flowers tracked down the ball behind the plate, but a bad throw to Paul Konerko gave Sweeney first base.

Sweeney was later thrown out a home plate by left fielder Dayan Viciedo, which seemed to get the defense back in good graces. But one batter later, Anthony Rizzo tripled to center when Alejandro De Aza lost the ball at the wall.

By then, Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija was well on his way to a two-hit shutout, but it wasn’t like Ventura was going to dismiss the miscues.

“It's just one of those where you can't win if you play like that,” Ventura said. “I don't know if Samardzija made us flat or we were just flat. It was definitely not what we've been playing like.”