When Seattle's Mike Cameron hit four home runs off White Sox pitching in Comiskey Park last week, it looked like the Sox had hit rock bottom.
The Sox lost to Anaheim 19-0 Friday, the biggest shutout and the largest losing margin in the franchise's 101-year history.
"Just another loss," manager Jerry Manuel said. "We've been making a lot of history here lately. ... Not on the good side, but maybe that will come."
Since their first game in 1901, the Sox had lost by 17 runs on three occasions: an 18-1 loss at Minnesota in 1976, a 17-0 loss at Baltimore in 1969, and a 22-5 loss at New York in 1931.
Anaheim knocked out 24 hits against starter Dan Wright and relievers Matt Ginter and Mike Porzio, hitting five home runs and setting a franchise scoring record at Edison Field.
Believe it or not, it could've been worse. Kenny Lofton robbed Brad Fullmer of a home run in the fourth with an over-the-wall catch.
The Sox now have a combined record of 3-19 on the West Coast since the start of 2001, including a 1-12 mark in California. They've hit a combined .202 in those 22 West Coast games, recorded a 6.46 earned-run average and have been outscored 145-76.
Ouch, ouch and ouch.
"I'd like to see us obviously play a little better," Manuel said. "We've got to be able to pitch, that's the bottom line."
The Sox remained one game behind Minnesota in the Central Division, but outside of starters Mark Buehrle and Todd Ritchie, the rotation is creating more questions by the day. The pressure is on Sox general manager Ken Williams to locate pitching help to support the league's top-scoring offense.
"Kenny sees exactly what everyone else sees," Manuel said. "You don't have to mention anything to him. He knows what's going on."
The Sox earned-run average has plummeted like a dot-com stock. On April 26, the Sox entered a three-game series in Oakland with a 4.09 ERA, third in the American League behind New York and Boston. The staff had served up only 17 homers in 22 games, third fewest in the league.
But in a matter of 14 games, the pitching has gone from top of the line to bottom of the barrel. First came the back-to-back losses in Oakland by scores of 16-1 and 10-0 on April 26 and 27, games in which Buehrle and Ritchie were shelled. That was soon followed by the 15-4 loss to Seattle in Comiskey on May 2, the night Cameron tied a major-league record with four homers off Jon Rauch and Jim Parque.
After Friday's debacle in Edison Field, the Sox ERA rose from 4.49 to 4.83, leaving them 11th in AL pitching. They've now served up a major-league worst 47 home runs. The Angels had a total of seven home runs at Edison Field this year before hitting five on Friday.
Strange things seem to happen every time the Sox head west. This year they'd already been swept in a three-game series in Oakland, and lost two of three in Seattle in a series they could've swept. It was much the same on Friday during a disastrous third inning for Wright. The right-hander gave up eight runs on seven hits in the third before being removed. Wright's ERA rose to 6.59, while Ginter's is now at 5.68 and Porzio's is 7.36.
"It's not easy to forget about," Wright said. "But I'll be ready to go again."
Fullmer and Garret Anderson both homered and drove in four runs apiece, while former Sox outfielder Julio Ramirez came off the bench to hit his first major-league homer, driving in three runs.
The Angels not only poured it on, they rubbed it in. Ramirez tagged up and advanced to third base on a long fly in the seventh with the Angels leading by 18 runs.
"That's Ramirez," Manuel said nonchalantly.
So, what goes on in a manager's head during the worst loss in team history?
"Just sit there and think about tomorrow, hoping the sun will come up," Manuel said. "I'm sure it will. I had a few other things that crossed my mind, but I won't go into those."
ANGELS 19, SOX 0