Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

Blame game? Buehrle says look no further than the starting staff

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2005_si.jpgTeam captain Paul Konerko leads the White Sox in home runs.
Starting pitcher John Danks sits atop wins.
Then there's the category that manager Ozzie Guillen goes untouched in. The one stat that he's dominated since Opening Day, still unsurpassed.
Leading the team in BHs - "broken hearts'' - was never in the cards for 2010, however.
You go home and you're so excited and you start calling people and say, 'Yeah, we've got it where we want it,' and the next day I said, 'Forget about what I just said,' '' Guillen said on Wednesday in describing his Jekyll and Hyde team.
"I was talking with [board chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] [Tuesday] before the game and I said, 'That's the team [in Monday's win] I thought it was going to be.' I think that's the reason I leave this ballclub with a broken heart because I expect them to play like that every day. All of the sudden, 24 hours later, you don't know what to do.''
While Guillen is fond of playing the blame game, pointing the finger at himself in most cases, Mark Buehrle stepped front and center before the series finale with Kansas City and said the real blame of an early season gone wrong starts and ends with the starting pitching staff.
In some ways, it might be hard to argue with Buehrle.
After all, no one was hyping the disappointing offense as the key to the season back in spring training. It was all about the five-some of Buehrle, Jake Peavy, John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Freddy Garcia. A unit that stepped into Wednesday's game 7-11 with a 5.20 ERA. And that included a 3-0, 1.85 ERA showing by Danks.
"Big time,'' Buehrle replied, when asked about the staff underachieving. "Besides Danks, I think everyone of us have. We've all had a good game or two, had a decent one, but had some bad ones. I think if you would have said in spring training that we would be at this point right now with the starting five, I would have called B.S. on you.
"That's why we go out and play these games and go out and compete every five days. On paper we were one of the best, and now when you look at that paper we're one of the worst in the league. We haven't done our job, and us going out there and lasting four, five innings messes up our bullpen. I think you point the fingers at us on why they've had some problems in the bullpen as of late.''
While that might have been a nice gesture by Buehrle, real or unreal the unit that has disappointed Guillen the most has been the offense.
This was supposed to be small ball at its finest. A group of hitters that one through nine would put pressure on the opposing pitcher from first pitch to the final out. Not even close.
"Probably the offense has a lot to do [with it] because most of the game we're in the game,'' Guillen explained. "A lot of people, when they talk about our pitching, it seems like we're pitching bad. You talk about how many games we play. We might pitch very bad in seven? You talk about (20) we're pitching good. Our starters have had some bad ones, but they've had some pretty good ones, too.''
And while Guillen knows there is plenty of time to turn this around, there is a pressing need for his players to understand that it's about consistency.
"Everything in life is about consistency,'' Guillen added. "When you're not consistent doing something you're always going to fail. I think that happened here.''

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on May 5, 2010 8:05 PM.

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