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White Sox avoid turmoil despite trying season

White Sox avoid turmoil despite trying season

CHICAGO -- The White Sox had more losses than they care to remember during this highly disappointing 2013 season.

They had injuries to key players and key players who underachieved. But throughout these unexpected extreme struggles, this team guided by even-keeled manager Robin Ventura managed to avoid true turmoil.

Turmoil, that is, in the classic sense of in-fighting within the clubhouse. According to second baseman Gordon Beckham, there was plenty of internal pain caused by the team playing just well enough to be bad.

"I'm pretty sure all of us have felt the feeling of turmoil through the year," said Beckham, speaking prior to the start of the season finale against the Royals Sunday. "Robin is very quiet and reserved in terms of that, but you can see it on his face that it's been hard on him.

"It's hard on everybody. That's a good word, 'turmoil.' It's not just what you do on the field, but it's how we lost. It was worse than losing a lot of games because of how we lost. It felt like we ripped our hearts out once or twice a week. Everybody, to our credit, has played hard and wanted to win. It just didn't happen."

Playing hard and wanting to win always is a nice sentiment, basically an essential ground floor element to success. But when a team fails as the White Sox did, with a 52-66 record in games decided by three runs or fewer and a 24-36 mark in one-run games, it's clear changes need to be made.

"There has to be changes," Beckham said. "Whether or not it's top to bottom, you have to look in the mirror and see what you have to do better. [General manager] Rick [Hahn] is really smart. He has a plan, I'm sure of it. It's not his fault or the coaches' fault. The guys on the field didn't get it done."

Beckham had to go back to his junior year at Georgia to find a season close to as bad as this one.

"Every time we were in a game, we'd lose. That doesn't compare to this," Beckham said. "We ripped our hearts out constantly in terms of being in a game or behind, coming back and losing. Or having a good pitching performance and not getting any hits. There isn't a good way to lose, but we couldn't lose in a good way where we played hard but just got beat. I try to be a positive person. We can turn it around, but we need the will to make it happen."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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