Ozzie accepts blame for losses

Ozzie accepts blame for losses

CHICAGO -- Apparently Ozzie Guillen didn't shoulder enough of the blame for his team's disappointing 2009 season during his spirited pregame media session on Monday afternoon.

That line of thinking continued prior to Tuesday's 11-3 loss to Oakland at U.S. Cellular Field. But it truly has been a theory preached by Guillen basically since he took over as manager in 2004. The players receive the credit, and he takes the blame.

"Every time we lose a game, I think it's our coaching staff's fault and our fault because we're not good enough to do that," Guillen said. "I've always said since I got this job, I'm never, never scared to blame myself.

"Who can you blame? The one thing about it is when one country is not winning, well, they don't blame anybody, but they blame the president. Well, I am the president of this ballclub. I am the face of this ballclub. We did everything we could, but in the meanwhile, I'm the one that penciled those guys in day in and day out, and they have to perform."

Guillen's logic made sense, to some extent, during Tuesday's series-opening loss to the A's. After all, it was Guillen and pitching coach Don Cooper who decided to go with rookie Carlos Torres, so the blame falls upon their shoulders. But of course, it was Torres who allowed five runs in just two-thirds of an inning, putting the onus for fault more on his shoulders.

But even when Guillen was asked if his team's shortcomings ever could or should be traced back to his charges' poor showing, the White Sox manager continued to point the finger of blame back at himself.

"They have to perform, but you have to make them perform," Guillen said. "They didn't perform good enough for us, and we didn't make them perform. When you lose, everything goes wrong.

"Why not blame just one guy and deal with it? I think I can deal with it. This is my job. When you hire a manager, you hire him to take full responsibility. It comes with a chain -- from the owner to [general manager] Kenny [Williams] to me to my coaches to my players to the rest. I take the blame. No one in this town can blame Kenny or Jerry [Reinsdorf] or Rick Hahn."

Freddy Garcia will try to earn his fair share of credit for Wednesday's success by turning in a quality start, as the White Sox search for a split in this two-game set. Garcia picked up his first victory since rejoining the White Sox in Friday's home win over the Red Sox. Garcia allowed one run on seven hits over six innings.

Keeping the team out of an early hole will be essential for Garcia, as the White Sox try to improve on their 1-4 home record against the A's. It's hard to figure out a team with the ability to go 6-2 combined at home against the Yankees and Red Sox but one that then struggles when facing the A's and, recently, the Orioles on the same field.

That sort of inconsistency sums up the White Sox of 2009. And once again, Guillen takes full responsibility.

"I want to take the blame. I want to take the full responsibility of it," Guillen said. "They gave me a ballclub to compete, and I accept that. When I said in April that we had a chance to win this thing, I said it. I didn't see any of the players say it; I said it. And I said it because I thought we would back me up.

"It's my responsibility to take it like a man. When we're not playing well, it's my fault. When we win, those guys do it for them. When we lose, we did something wrong to lose the game.

"I'm not going to hide. I'm never going to hide from anybody," Guillen added. "If we don't get where we want to get, I think I failed as a manager. I do. We spent three months, felt like 20 months, trying to get a good team in Spring Training. We told the fans we had a good team. When I tell the fans we have a good team and we fail, well I have to take responsibility."

Pitching matchup
CWS: RHP Freddy Garcia (1-2, 4.76 ERA)
Garcia didn't need his best stuff in a 12-2 blowout victory over the Red Sox on Friday night, but he pitched well enough to win even if the game had been close. Staked to a 12-1 lead after four innings, Garcia lasted six frames, surrendering just one run on seven hits with five strikeouts and one walk to pick up his first victory since Sept. 17, 2008, when he was a member of the Tigers. Garcia posted his third straight quality start, but Friday was the first time he had allowed fewer than three runs in an outing this season. Lifetime against the A's, Garcia is 6-6 with a 5.08 ERA in 19 starts.

OAK: RHP Trevor Cahill (8-12, 4.66 ERA)
Cahill allowed three earned runs in five innings against Kansas City on Wednesday, surrendering all three runs in the third. He gave up six hits, walked two and struck out three to earn the win. The rookie is 2-1 with a 2.81 ERA over 32 innings in his past five starts. He'll look to keep things going against a White Sox team he's held to four runs in 11 2/3 innings (3.08 ERA) over two starts.

All things being equal, Guillen likes Garcia as his leading candidate for the fifth starter's job in the 2010 starting rotation. "Freddy has to be healthy, and I think he will," Guillen said. "I think Freddy knows his career -- I'm not going to say it's over -- right now it's getting tougher every year when you get older. I think Freddy's taking care of himself a lot better now; he's a better pitcher. If you had to pick somebody right now, it would have to be Freddy. ... Alex Rios, mired in a 4-for-49 slump over his past 13 games, had the night off Tuesday. But Guillen still doesn't seem worried about Rios' struggles. "If Alex wasn't fine, he wouldn't be in the lineup all the time," the manager said. "I think Alex is going through a process right now where he's trying to impress people. He's on the bubble right now. It's the first time he ever played with another organization and different people. It's not easy, especially when the expectations are so high. People thought Alex Rios was going to come here and be the savior. No, Alex Rios came here to help us, not to save this ballclub." ... In this stretch of 20 games in 20 days, the White Sox have a 7-12 record. ... The White Sox elimination number stands at 17 in the AL Central. ... The A's have outscored the White Sox by a 30-12 margin at U.S. Cellular this season. ... The White Sox went over the 2 million mark in attendance on Tuesday. ... Torres suffered his first loss at any level since May 31 at Toledo while pitching for Triple-A Charlotte.

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Up next
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: White Sox (Gavin Floyd, 11-9, 3.84) at Angels (Joe Saunders, 12-7, 4.97), 9:05 p.m. CT
• Saturday: White Sox (John Danks, 12-9, 3.84) at Angels (Ervin Santana, 7-8, 5.71), 3:10 p.m. CT

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.