Frustrated White Sox shut down

Frustrated White Sox shut down

CHICAGO -- Manager Ozzie Guillen recently shook up the White Sox lineup and his team started an eight-game winning streak.

Being shut down twice in a row by the Angels will not, Guillen said, send him back to the drawing board.

"I'm not a genius; I already made one [change], and it was working out pretty good," Guillen said. "Right now I think we're facing pretty good pitching, and that's the reason they shut us down. I got to continue to play those [same] guys to see if they can break it up."

Guillen's hitters broke little except their bats against right-hander Jered Weaver, who -- backed by the power of Vladimir Guerrero and strong defense -- continued to dominate the Sox in a 2-0 victory for the Angels on Saturday afternoon.

Adding to the frustration for the White Sox (26-22), home-plate umpire Alfonso Marquez ejected Guillen and catcher A.J. Pierzynski in the ninth inning for arguing about the strike zone.

Weaver allowed three hits over eight innings, improving to 3-0 with an 0.34 ERA in four career starts against the White Sox, who rode an eight-game winning streak before meeting the Angels (30-21).

"Yeah, it's kind of a weird season," Guillen said. "We were out swinging the bats and scoring a lot of runs, and all of a sudden we couldn't put anything together. The last couple nights we had a tough time getting something going.

"Every time we face Weaver for the last couple years he's dominating us. We can't figure him out yet."

Weaver (4-5) lowered his ERA to 4.16, but it's 6.20 in nine starts against opponents other than the White Sox this season.

"You usually have one team you've got a pretty good grip on," Weaver said. "They've got a pretty good offensive lineup, but I've got an idea where their holes are."

Pierzynski and other White Sox hitters said or implied that Weaver's unusual windup and delivery -- coupled with his long and lanky physique -- work in concert to deceive batters.

"You feel like you're getting a good pitch to hit, and it just cuts or sinks at the last minute and you just miss it," Pierzynski said.

Vladimir Guerrero broke open a scoreless tie in the sixth with his seventh home run, this one coming off against John Danks (3-4). He allowed both runs over five-plus innings, then Guillen lifted the lefty two batters into the sixth after he threw 99 pitches.

Danks said he made a mistake to Guerrero, who hit his first pitch over the fence in left-center.

"I put a ball on a tee for him," Danks said. "No, it was just a bad changeup. I can second-guess myself all I want, but that's been a very effective pitch for me against him, especially later in at-bats. I didn't think he'd be sitting on it so early in the count. I just threw it in a very bad place."

Guerrero's plan, as usual, was to hack at the first pitch he liked.

"I don't even know what I hit -- something in the strike zone," Guerrero said through a translator.

Casey Kotchman added an RBI single against Octavio Dotel, who then struck out the side to strand runners at second and third.

Angels outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. made two outstanding plays to help keep the White Sox off the scoreboard.

Matthews threw out Nick Swisher at second base in the fifth. Swisher lined a single toward the right-field corner and Matthews slid on one knee to cut off the ball and -- all with fluidity -- popped up to make a perfect throw on the fly from deep right.

"Unbelievable play," Swisher said.

Matthews also made a diving catch for the final out, helping Francisco Rodriguez earn a save, his 21st in 22 chances. Rodriguez also finished off Joe Saunders' dominating start Friday night.

"It has been a frustrating couple days for us," Swisher said. "The past two days weren't ours, the previous eight days were. We'll just get back on track tomorrow and relax a little bit. Maybe we're trying to press a little bit."

Pierzynski appeared frustrated, especially with the strike zone, in the ninth. He said he was kicked out because he told Marquez "the wrong thing."

Guillen, after arguing with Marquez, took his lineup card from his pocket and placed it at the ump's feet, like a hitter might do with his bat and gloves after disagreeing with a call.

"I have to protect my players," said Guillen, who was thumbed for the second time this season and 14th time in his career.

Danks needed 28 pitches in the second inning but wriggled free of a one-out, bases-loaded jam. He also needed 25 pitches to get through the fifth.

The White Sox have scored seven runs in Danks' past six starts while he was in the game.

"You know going in Weaver's going to be tough, and you've got to limit your mistakes, and, unfortunately, I wasn't able to do that there in the sixth inning," Danks said. "I made a bad pitch to Vladdy and he doesn't miss pitches right there."

Dave Brown is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.