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It took five innings for the White Sox to connect on their first hit against soft-throwing Royals lefty Bruce Chen, and the frustration permeated well after another defeat was in the books.
Manager Ozzie Guillen went off on his lackluster offense once again, this time after Wednesday night's 2-1 defeat against Kansas City. He called his team's energy level and approach against Chen "pathetic."
The only positive news was John Danks' seven scoreless innings on the day he returned from the disabled list.
"A lot of people say I talk [expletive] because I have to talk [expletive]," Guillen told reporters in Kansas City afterward. "No, I don't. I talk [expletive] because what I see; that's all I see. Very bad. Nothing against Chen. Nothing against the Kansas City pitching staff. They're good. They got a young ballclub.
"The way we go about our business here, horse [expletive]. They can say whatever they want to say."
It was a painful night in more ways than one as Guillen had swelling under his right eye after getting hit by a foul ball during the game.
Guillen's latest rant was short and sweet, but had been building for some time. He had complimented his players' approach at the plate after a solid series in Detroit to open the second half, but said he takes back those kind words.
The White Sox have underachieved on offense all season, with Adam Dunn (.158) and Alex Rios (.211) the biggest reasons why, but they get only part of the blame. Dunn was out of Wednesday's lineup and the team's struggles continued.
After a day off Thursday, the White Sox open a three-game series at Cleveland on Friday.
"One day we're good, three days we're bad," Guillen said. "We don't have no energy in the dugout. Horse [expletive] approach at the plate for the 90th time. If we go to Cleveland the way we go there, huh, good luck. We're wasting our money on this club if we go to Cleveland the way we were here. That's all I have to say."
Chen gave up just four hits and a run against the White Sox over eight innings Wednesday. On July 6 against the White Sox, Chen gave up one run on four hits over six innings. Those are two of his three victories since April 19.
"Bruce Chen once again," Guillen said. "This one was more painful than [the last] one. [Expletive] pathetic. No [expletive] energy. We just go by the motions. We take the day off today instead of tomorrow. If we go to Cleveland and play the way we play in Kansas City it's going to be a long-ass July.
"That was very bad. Nothing against Bruce Chen, I have a lot of respect for this kid. But the way we approached him at the plate that's not a good ballclub out there. I'm tired of protecting people."
The evidence of the White Sox's underachievement is lengthy: The offense entered Wednesday ninth in the American League in batting average (.252), 10th in runs (389), second in strikeouts (579), 12th in steals (42), 11th in slugging percentage (.383) and ninth in on-base percentage (.318).
After Cleveland, the White Sox return home to open a key stretch against the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
"If we have to go to Cleveland that way, and we have to play New York, Boston and Detroit, good luck ... and Danks pitched well," Guillen said.Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com.