Chicago's Erik Johnson is winless in two Major League starts. Before he gets too down on himself, though, he should consider the case of Minnesota's Liam Hendriks.
Hendriks, who will oppose Johnson in Monday's series opener between the Twins and White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, opened his big league career with 17 outings that resulted in a loss or a no-decision. In 27 career starts, Hendriks has just two victories, which is due, in part, to some bad luck with regard to run support.
"It gets a little frustrating, but that's how it goes," Hendriks said. "Hopefully, I can stay here long enough to let it swing the other way, and I go on a streak. I'm starting to feel good, and [have been] keeping the team in the game."
Johnson, 23, has a bunch of big league starts ahead of him, so it should take more than a couple of defeats for him to get discouraged.
In two outings, the rookie is 0-2 with a 4.66 ERA across 9 2/3 innings. He has allowed 14 hits and 11 runs, only five of which were earned. Johnson has also issued six walks and tallied five strikeouts. The White Sox committed two errors behind him last Tuesday, and four total in the game.
"I had some tough breaks out there, but I thought I attacked the zone as best I could," said Johnson, who added that it's his role to pick up the defense after errors. "I could have worked ahead of a few more hitters, of course, and put myself in a better situation."
As for Hendriks, a 24-year-old from Australia, he began his outing last Tuesday with four shutout innings against the A's. Ultimately, he was charged with three runs in 5 1/3, with six strikeouts and no walks. Alberto Callaspo hit a two-run homer off him in the fifth.
"It was labor. He really worked at it," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "A lot of fastballs. He really didn't have much of a breaking ball. Some decent changeups. The best you can say is, he hung in there. He never gave up the big inning. But the pace of the game wasn't very good. There were a lot of big counts. He hung in there. He didn't implode. He didn't put us deep in the hole, but it wasn't his best performance."
In seven outings this year, Hendriks is 1-2 with a 5.25 ERA.
Twins: Gardenhire thinking about next year
Minnesota won't be participating in the playoffs, but that doesn't mean the remaining games don't carry value. The Twins are monitoring the present to help shape their decisions in the future. Before Sunday's 6-4, come-from-behind win, Gardenhire expressed that some players aren't taking the field with enough urgency lately.
"A lot of these guys have to understand this means a lot right now to how this roster is going to shape up next year," he said. "Hopefully, they'll figure it out. We've been beating it into their heads that there's still something to play for."
After the game, Gardenhire said: "That was really exciting for our baseball team after that long night last night. We talked about if we were really getting after it, and today I thought we really got after it."
White Sox: Ventura unhappy with defense
The White Sox lead baseball with 112 errors, and their .980 fielding percentage is the lowest in the Major Leagues. Chicago manager Robin Ventura plans to continue addressing that deficiency moving forward.
"We've focused on it before, and it seems like we're going to have to do more of it when we get to Spring Training," Ventura said. "It's not an easy part of the game, because you can lose concentration or float or do whatever, but in the end, you lose games because you can't catch the ball."
• Minnesota has won 10 of 16 meetings with the White Sox this year and holds a 77-68 edge in runs scored.
• After this series, the White Sox finish the season with three in Detroit, one vs. Toronto, two at Cleveland and four at home against Kansas City. The Twins' season will end with four in Oakland, followed by three against Detroit and four against Cleveland at home.
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.