Pedro Grifol

Pedro Grifol shoulders the blame for White Sox' underachieving season

The White Sox skipper didn't make any excuses for the team's season

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The Crosstown Classic marks a truly vindictive series.

Both Chicago teams battle for the crown achievement of being the best baseball team in Chicago. Year in and year out, each team looks forward to the iconic showdown.

This time around, the White Sox are battling themselves, understanding the magnitude of the losses behind them and the importance of the games in front of them.

Make no mistake, they're aware of the problem. And they have no excuses for their underwhelming season.

"I'm disappointed. This is on me. It's simple," Pedro Grifol said before Tuesday's loss to the Cubs. "I sat there (in Spring Training) and told everybody we had high expectations this year and (said) I was gonna lead us to where we wanted to go. And it's not happening.

"But that doesn't mean I'm gonna quit. Doesn't mean I'm gonna stop working. Doesn't mean I'm gonna not prepare to win this game and not prepare for Cleveland coming up . . . I am disappointed. And there's no excuse for it."

The White Sox are in a jam. This season was supposed to be a rejuvenation from last season's playoff miss and .500 record. Unfortunately, it took the opposite turn.

The club is 20 games under .500 after Tuesday's 7-3 loss to the Cubs at home. They stand 41-61, as of this writing. In the AL Central division, they are 13.5 games back on the lead, owned by the Minnesota Twins.

It's a baffling situation. Before the season, on the White Sox Talk podcast, Joe Kelly characterized the 2022 season as the "worst-case scenario" for their roster. Somehow, it wasn't.

Other managers are confused. Ozzie Guillen mentioned on White Sox Postgame Live he's encountered three managers -- Bruce Bochy, Dusty Baker and Alex Cora -- who have come to him to ask the question everyone's wondering:

What's wrong with the White Sox?

"There's a style of baseball we want to play. There's a culture that we want to build. It hasn't happened," Grifol said. "And that's on me. Nobody else. That's on me. But there's only one way to go. Put your head down and keep working.

"I'm not gonna blame this thing on anybody. It's on me. I'm certainly not gonna sit here before, or after, or during a game and throw our players under the bus. I'm certainly not gonna do that."

On the White Sox Postgame Live show, former White Sox player, Frank Thomas, dared to do what Grifol refused: blame the players. As far as Thomas is concerned, Grifol can change the lineups, shift the defense and make in-game decisions.

He can't pitch strikes, hit balls, or score runs.

"The blame is on the players," Thomas said. "All he can do is write the lineups and put people in a situation to try to succeed. But as for going out getting hits and pitching strikes, he doesn't control that.

"That's on the players."

The players have not lived up to expectations this season. Hopeful to win the AL Central division and make it back to the playoffs, they've faltered.

The Sox have the 23rd-ranked offense and second-worst defense in the league. Their pitching hasn't been much better, representing the 24th-ranked team ERA in MLB.

Numbers don't lie. Their -76 run differential certainly doesn't, either.

At this point, the message from the White Sox is that they're aware of the problem. And they have plans to fix it.

"Believe me, I don't have my eyes shut and say 'Oh, we're doing good.' This is not what I signed up for," Grifol said. "Whether it's changes -- personnel changes, cultural changes --, or whatever the case may be, it's gonna happen."

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