After watching an offensive malaise reach a new low Sunday, manager Ozzie Guillen threatened his White Sox hitters with changes following Sunday's 4-3 loss at Tampa Bay.
"Just be ready because I expect movement Tuesday," Guillen said after the Sox went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position in a loss capped by Gabe Gross' walk-off home run off Matt Thornton on an 0-2 count in the bottom of the 10th inning. "I expect (general manager) Kenny Williams to do something Tuesday, and if we don't do anything Tuesday, there are going to be a lot of lineup changes. That's all I'm going to say about the offense."
But Guillen wasn't finished after the Sox dropped the final three games of the series to the Rays, managing just four runs in the three games.
"It can be me. It can be (hitting coach) Greg Walker. It can be the players. It could be anybody," he said. "I'm sick and tired to watch this thing for a year and a half. I'm not protecting anybody anymore. [Bleep] it. If they can't get it done, Kenny should find someone to get it done."
While taking a break from dinner with his children, Williams took exception to his manager's comments.
"It's just not a good idea to throw your boss under the bus, especially when that boss has had your back as much as I have had his," Williams wrote in an e-mail. "I expect this team, if the leadership remains positive and the players stick together and continue to play hard, it will be a fun summer.
"The offense will begin to produce when collectively they say the hell with all the theories, stay loose, pick the pitch you want to hit and hit it hard. It will be nice to see them lighten up and have some fun."
All this for a first-place team in the American League Central that has leaned heavily on a pitching staff working with no margin for error. Williams gave Guillen an extension through 2012 in September while the Sox were in the midst of a 90-loss season.
Walker is in his fifth season as the Sox's hitting coach but has been under public scrutiny for the second consecutive season because of a struggling offense that was supposedly fortified with the additions of Nick Swisher and Orlando Cabrera. Roving minor-league hitting coach Jeff Manto observed the team this weekend.Despite shaking up the lineup 21/2 weeks ago, the Sox (30-26) reverted to their stagnant ways. They went 3-for-30 with runners in scoring position in the last three games of the Tampa series and their team batting average sank to .247.
The frustration reached a new low in the top of the 10th after Jim Thome legged out a broken-bat double to raise his batting average to .212.
Paul Konerko (.205) grounded out and advanced pinch-runner Pablo Ozuna to third. But Joe Crede (3 for his last 15) grounded to third and Swisher (.201, 2-for-14) took a called third strike from left-hander J.P. Howell.
"Another bad game," Guillen declared. "If we think we are going to win with the offense we have, we are full of it. I'm just being honest. I expect better from them if they're in the lineup."
The only players who appear immune to major changes are A.J. Pierzynski, Jermaine Dye, Carlos Quentin, Cabrera and Alexei Ramirez, who appears to have seized the starting second base job from Juan Uribe.
"[Guillen] is the manager, he can do what he wants," Konerko said. "That's that."
Konerko summed up the offensive woes as "a little bit of everything."
"You can re-evaluate it how you want, but the effort is there," he said. "This was going to be a good road trip that obviously finished off bad (3-4). We finished May in first place and didn't feel like we're clicking at all. You want to find positives in that, you find positives. You want to find negatives, you find negatives, but the story is still unwritten."
Starter Mark Buehrle was not involved in the decision, pitching six innings of three-run ball and staying out of the big inning. He had no words of wisdom for the Sox's struggling hitters.
"I'm terrible at hitting," he said. "They're doing a better job than I am, so I can't comment on that."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun