Manager Ozzie Guillen shouldered the blame Wednesday morning for the White Sox's inconsistent start.
But after watching his team's latest debacle—a 7-6 loss at Minnesota in which the Sox blew a five-run lead, extended their losing streak to four games and dropped to the .500 mark for the season—he hinted that changes could be looming.
"If we have to shake up this ballclub, we will," Guillen declared after watching reliever David Aardsma walk Torii Hunter on four pitches with two outs and the bases loaded in the ninth inning.
"At least Kenny Williams will," he said of the general manager. "I'm sitting here and watching since July of last year to right now, the same [stuff]. If I'm going to get fired, good. If this team's going to get better with me out of here, I'll be happy. But as long as I'm here, we have to play better."
Williams will have plenty to assess after concluding a one-week trip to the minor leagues. More moves could be made to shore up the unreliable bullpen.
In Wednesday's loss, slumping Mike MacDougal fueled the Twins' winning rally with a walk to Jason Tyner.
Guillen pulled no punches after the Sox were swept at the Metrodome and outscored 26-12. He said the Twins made the Sox look "like Little Leaguers" and repeatedly used the word "embarrassing" to describe their play.
"It's not early anymore," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "It's frustrating because we think we're a better team than this, that we're a better hitting team and a better pitching team. And we proved that we pitch at times and can hit at times."
The Sox fell to 24-24 after Jon Garland walked a season-high five batters. Sox pitchers walked eight total, and five of them scored.
Also, five of the Twins' seven runs came with two outs.
Moreover, the once-dependable rotation has an 0-4 record and an 8.31 ERA in its last six starts. And the Sox lineup went hitless after the third inning.
With each loss, the postgame mood has been quieter.
"We've been winning a lot of series other than obviously this one, but it hasn't seemed like we've been winning a lot of games," Aardsma said. "We've been going out there and winning, but it doesn't seem like it because we always seem to leave ourselves down. We'll pull ourselves out of it, but we have to do it game-by-game."
Before the game, Guillen said Darin Erstad, Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko were the only position players with secure spots in the lineup.
He expanded the responsibility to the entire roster after the game.
"I will take the blame like I always do," Guillen said. "In the meanwhile, the 25 guys we have, they had better look themselves in the mirror."
Garland also absorbed his share of blame.
"I absolutely [stunk]," he said, adding an off-color adverb for emphasis. "That's the only way to describe it."
Guillen described his pregame session as a wake-up call.
"If people think there are going to be trades here, they start playing better," Guillen he said. "If you're going to get traded, play better because they're not going to trade names, they're going to trade players to help someone else win."
For the record, scouts from the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers watched the Sox during various stages of the three-game series at the Metrodome.
But they also could have been looking at the Twins, who certainly outperformed the Sox in all categories.
"They play as a team, they compete as a team, they get you as a team," Guillen said, reiterating his admiration for the Twins.
"That's why they win, and that's why they have five or six division titles, because they earn it. Nobody gives it to them.
"They deserve credit. They showed up and kicked us. If we continue to play like that, it's not only going to be the Twins, it's going to be everybody in the American League taking advantage of us."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun