Rick Renteria received good grades for guiding the White Sox through a so-so first 30 games in which they won 15 and played a relatively decent brand of baseball in the process.
Considering the low expectations for his team coming out of spring training, to bounce out of the gate with life and spunk playing .500 ball into May has been viewed as success.
“For the most part, they prepare well, they’ve been hustling and we’ve been getting some good relief pitching,’’ Renteria said before the Sox opened a six-game homestand Tuesday on a flat note with a 7-2 loss to the Twins.
Renteria oozes positive vibes, but it was evident after the Sox were swept in Baltimore – where he was ejected from Sunday’s loss — that even he was disappointed.
“Probably the last couple of days we haven’t done as well defensively as we have during the course of the season,’’ Renteria said Monday.
The Sox were coming off a sloppy three-game weekend sweep to the Orioles in Baltimore, and since they built a tidy 13-9 record with a messy 6-4 win over the Tigers in 10 innings in Detroit on April 29, they are falling on rougher times. And after enjoying an off day following a 10-game road trip, they were in danger of losing their fourth straight game and seventh in the last nine to the Twins before a chilled Dog Night crowd of 14,498 people and 463 pooches on the South Side.
The Sox were out-hit 12-4 and fell to 15-16.
All in all, general manager Rick Hahn is pleased with what he’s seen. At least till now.
“All of us are very pleased with the work Ricky and his staff have done thus far, both from a pregame preparation standpoint through the way the game is being played between the lines,’’ general manager Rick Hahn said before the game, “which has translated ultimately to perhaps a little better record than a lot of people outside that clubhouse predicted for this team.’’
The Sox led former Sox Hector Santiago 2-0 on RBI singles by Willy Garcia, getting his first start in center field, and second baseman Tyler Saladino.
But the Twins got to Sox right-hander Mike Pelfrey (0-3) for three runs in the fourth and then Dan Jennings (three) and Chris Beck (one) for a four-spot in the seventh. In the seventh, both right fielder Avisail Garcia and Willy Garcia bobbled RBI base hits by Ehire Adrianza and Byron Buxton, allowing them to advance an extra base.
The Sox lineup, meanwhile, couldn’t capitalize on five walks by Santiago and with only three hits against him, were held to two runs.
Win or lose, Hahn says he likes what he sees from the coaching staff as the organization tries to lay new groundwork for the future in the first year of a rebuilding plan.
“From the things we stated going all the way back to the organizational meetings through spring training we felt were important, creating the right environment, culture, focusing on the things that are important as an organization, Ricky and his staff have done a great job. We’re really pleased with where the club sits.
“The one thing we want to make sure we accomplish this season is create that right environment, the kind of thing that’s going to endure year in and year out and serve us well once the talent level is at a threshold that reasonably projects a championship contention for the club.’’