Team meeting can't stop White Sox from beating themselves

USA TODAY Sports

The last refuge of a losing team fails to interrupt a string of awful baseball

Ozzie Guillen said a lot of things over his time as White Sox manager, and one of the things that actually held up was his belief that "bad teams have meetings; good teams win ballgames."

Robin Ventura has more or less lived by those words himself. But the situation is such that he felt compelled to hold a team meeting after the White Sox booted away a game on Friday. Then they went out and lost a game on Saturday in the exact same fashion. So what does that tell you?

Ventura would tell much about the meeting, himself. Paul Konerko shared a little more:

"It wasn't like [he jumped] us like crazy, but it also wasn't the old upbeat positive one," Konerko said. "It was probably somewhere in the middle."

"Sometimes [after] meetings like that it doesn't come out right away; it takes a few days," he said. "It's kind of a delayed effect."

"It's just a little latent! It's still good, it's still good!" The only thing worse than team meetings are the explanations about team meetings, because there's no way to make them sound productive. Which is probably why Ventura didn't say much.

Later on in the article, there's a Konerko quote with more substance:

"You know there are no guarantees, but this stuff happens," Konerko said. "You hope like hell it’s not you or your team. But you know what, it’s our team so far this year. We have to realize that and sometimes when you admit it and say, ‘Yeah, we’re that team right now,’ maybe it turns after that, instead of trying to fight it and deny it. I don’t know."

"I feel if we just keep going at it the right way, it’s going to [end]," he said. "You’ve got to believe that."

Konerko might want to believe it, but his body language says tells a different story. He's shown more frustration with umpires on borderline pitch calls, and you could hear him slam his bat in the dugout Saturday night. By the time he hit an inning-ending flyout in the eighth, he was back to Full Blown Eeyore:

Konerko_medium

I doubt Konerko was thinking that his Sox were going to live in infamy by the end of the night (they're the only non-1968 White Sox team to go 34 games into a season without scoring eight runs at least once), but that swing kinda sums up the state of the Sox. Nobody is performing, so individual failures are magnified, and the sum is accounting for all the parts.

Star-divide

Imagine how bad it would be if the Sox had tendered a contract to Philip Humber.

Through seven starts, Humber was 0-7 with an 8.82 ERA. So the Astros moved him to the bullpen, where he responded with a strong 1⅓ innings against these same Angels on May 9.

On Saturday, he was tasked with protecting a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning, and here's the resulting line in his box score:

IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Humber (L, 0-8) 0.2 5 5 5 1 1 1 9.59

If you're curious, Humber is 4-13 with an 8.03 ERA over 123⅓ innings since throwing the perfect game on April 21, 2012, and somehow it just keeps getting worse. One of these days, a man in an Astros jacket will take the ball from Humber, turn to the camera and reveal himself to be Rod Serling:

Practical joke perpetrated by Abner Doubleday and a combination of improbable events. Practical joke wearing the trappings of nightmare, of terror, of desperation. Small human drama played out in an empty ballpark in downtown Houston, Texas, U.S.A., continent of North America, the Earth, and, of course, The Ruffcorn Zone.

Eight losses before Mother's Day puts him on pace for 35 on the season. He'll never get there, because I think OSHA would have to step in by the 20th. But it's crazy how regression and normalization have completely ignored Humber, leaving him only in gravity's hands. Sometimes things don't turn around even though everything else suggests they should.

So ... shouldn't he still be a White Sox?

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