Eaton shaves beard in effort to shed poor start

'That guy stunk,' says White Sox center fielder after 1-for-5 night

Eaton shaves beard in effort to shed poor start

MINNEAPOLIS -- The man standing in front of Adam Eaton's locker following Chicago's 12-2 loss Thursday night at Target Field looked somewhat like the White Sox leadoff man and center fielder.

There was one major difference -- the beard that Eaton featured pretty much since joining the White Sox had been all but shaved away.

"That guy stunk," said Eaton with an exasperated smile. "I had to get rid of him."

Eaton was not good in the opener of this four-game set with the Twins, and the White Sox catalyst really has struggled since Day 1 of the 2015 season. But he certainly wasn't alone with his issues.

Let's call it a poor overall effort by the entire team.

Chris Sale, one of the game's best starters, had one of those nights with a career-high nine runs (eight earned) allowed over three innings. And as bad as Sale was, his defense matched him.

Alexei Ramirez committed a fielding error on Danny Santana's two-out grounder in the second that led to an unearned run. That run scored when Santana came all the way around from first on Brian Dozier's bloop single in front of Eaton. The fleet-footed Santana was running on the pitch, but Eaton hesitated on the throw home and Jose Abreu bobbled the toss as the cutoff man.

During a seven-run third, Eaton overshot catcher Tyler Flowers on an ill-advised throw off of Eduardo Escobar's two-run single. Sale failed to back up the play on the wild throw and Flowers had a passed ball. It was a second straight day of bad moments for the 8-11 White Sox.

"It just has to be better. We have to clean it up. Both sides of the ball have to be good. Offensively, we saw a better thing today, but defensively we weren't really there," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "We haven't been sharp defensively the last few days."

"We didn't execute very well, we didn't play very well behind him," Flowers said. "We didn't do a lot of things very well."

With a 1-for-5 showing on Thursday, Eaton's average dropped to .192 for the season with seven runs scored and no RBIs. It has been a miserable start for Eaton, but to his credit, he did more than shave postgame as a way of trying to fix things.

Those defensive miscues start up the middle, so Eaton took responsibility for Thursday's errors because, according to him, the team will follow his lead if he makes the plays. The same goes for offensive shortcomings attached to a group with 64 runs scored.

"I want to go out and do it for my teammates," Eaton said. "I want to make plays for them. I want to make plays for every pitcher out there. I take it very personal when the offense isn't really up and going like it should be.

"It's because I put a lot on myself because I'm the guy that's at the beginning of the order that should get things going right now and I haven't done that so far. I haven't done much of anything so far. It kind of eats me up a little bit. With that being said, every day is an opportunity and I have to look at it that way and it's the only way you can look at it. A little easier said than done but it's the way you've gotta look at it."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.