Before Friday's inauspicious start to a nine-game homestand, the final one of the 2009 regular season for the White Sox, Guillen spoke to his charges behind closed clubhouse doors. He tried to impress on them to go out and play hard, have fun and see what happens over the final 15 games.
Then, the White Sox offense went out and produced just three hits against Luke Hochevar (7-10). The right-hander broke a personal seven-game losing streak, won for the first time in 10 starts and hurled his first career shutout.
"No, we got two hits," Guillen said. "One is by [Dewayne] Wise and two infield hits, and those count as half-hits. You won't win many games when you have two hits."
Over the past 18 innings, dating back to Thursday's extra-inning heartbreaker in Seattle, the White Sox have not scored a run and have produced nothing more than eight singles. While the bats have continued to slumber, Mark Buehrle (12-9) had an erratic stretch of his own against the Royals (60-87).
But first, here's the good news for the White Sox on Friday, aside from this debacle taking only two hours, 29 minutes to complete. By pitching six-plus innings, Buehrle became the only active Major League pitcher to have recorded at least 10 wins, 30 starts and 200 innings in nine consecutive seasons.
"Obviously, it means a lot to set a personal goal and then to get 200 innings," said Buehrle, who exited after 100 pitches. "It means I'm going deep and giving my team a chance to win."
That little nugget of information pretty much ends the night's highlights for the South Siders. The Royals touched up Buehrle for five runs on seven hits, including a two-run home run by former batterymate Miguel Olivo. In the eighth inning, Olivo went deep off Jhonny Nunez and finished the night with six RBIs.
Buehrle departed in the seventh with runners on first and third and nobody out, and reliever Tony Pena allowed both of those runners to score. Buehrle didn't help himself, though, walking three straight batters in the third with two outs to force in a run, and then walking the leadoff man in the sixth before Olivo's blast.
"It wasn't really coming close to the zone," said Buehrle, who fell to 20-9 lifetime against the Royals and slipped to 1-6 with 89 hits allowed over 69 2/3 innings over the 11 starts since he threw a perfect game on July 23. "I can't say it was close calls the umpires missed. I have no idea what happened."
"I've just got to call it like I see it, and Buehrle wasn't sharp," Kansas City manager Trey Hillman said. "He had good stuff. He just couldn't command it."
While the American League Central elimination number dropped to nine for the White Sox, about the only other piece of quasi-uplifting news was that Minnesota beat Detroit at the Metrodome. The White Sox stayed 6 1/2 games behind the first-place Tigers, but they now sit 3 1/2 games behind the Twins just to get to second place.
All the inspirational speeches delivered by Guillen might not change this team's ultimate finish, especially with a 6-15 mark in its past 21 games against the AL Central and nothing but AL Central opponents remaining on the schedule.
"He got his point across," said Buehrle with a laugh when appraised of Guillen's speech assessment. "He told everyone we [stink].
"Everyone watching us knows we are not playing good. We are not in a good spot, and we put ourselves in that spot. But you can't blame Ozzie. He's trying to pump us up and get us going and trying to get us to play good. But it's on the guys."