Facing sweep, Sox seeking consistency

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Facing sweep, Sox seeking consistency

A month ago, the White Sox finished off a sweep of the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Their 6-0 victory over their reeling crosstown rival was their fourth win in a row and part of a stretch in which the Sox won 14 of 16 games.

But those two weeks of good feelings have since come to a halt, as the White Sox have dropped five consecutive series to Toronto, Houston, St. Louis, Los Angeles and now the Cubs. And on Wednesday, they send a struggling Gavin Floyd to the mound looking to avoid being swept for the first time this season.

"I think I said it when we were in the midst of our nine-game winning streak, teams are going to win five, six, seven in a row and lose five, six, seven in a row," Adam Dunn explained. "And that's just kinda part of it. Hopefully we can go out today and kinda salvage something and get ready for this weekend."

The Sox won nine straight games in late May and early June in large part thanks to their offense, which tallied 72 runs during that winning streak. In recent games, the Sox have struggled to support stingy outings from Jake Peavy and Jose Quintana.

"When we were putting up 10 runs a game, that's just not going to happen all the time," Gordon Beckham said. "We've just hit a little lull where we just aren't getting the big hit or the runs we need in. We just gotta pick it up. It'll change, it'll definitely change, we just need to make it sooner rather than later."

There's still plenty of time left for the White Sox. Wednesday's game is No. 69 on the season, meaning there are 93 more left. There will be ups and downs, and consistency is often difficult to achieve.

"I don't think there's a lot of teams out there that can say they've played consistently month in and month out," Dunn said. "If we have more wins than losses, we'll be pretty good."

Heading into Wednesday's game, the White Sox have two more wins than they have losses. They haven't been swept all season, as Beckham pointed out. But if Floyd can't find a way to get better results, that may change tonight. Manager Robin Ventura hinted before the game that most of Floyd's issues are in his own head.

"Frustrating is just one of those words that's thrown around but he's the one that has to go through it," Ventura said of Floyd. "As a team, I think that's part of him pitching is the pressures of not letting people down and things like that. Those are probably bigger than just the frustrations, is he's trying to do a lot and he just needs to be himself."

As Floyd's ERA has ballooned to 5.63, it's been easy for some to forget how good he was to begin the season. In Floyd's first seven starts, he struck out 42, walked 13 and allowed four home runs with a 2.53 ERA. In his last six outings, Floyd has struck out 30, walked 10 and allowed 11 home runs with a 10.38 ERA. The Sox are 1-5 in those starts.

Dunn says, though, that Floyd's recent issues don't put any added pressure on the offense and him.

"As position players and hitters, we don't worry about out pitching because there's nothing we can do -- if we score 10 runs, we're probably going to win," Dunn said. "Our goal is to score 10 runs a game. That's probably not going to happen on a consistent basis, but I can promise you if we score 10 we'll win."

If roster stays the same, Adam Eaton believes White Sox can compete in 2017

If roster stays the same, Adam Eaton believes White Sox can compete in 2017

This season hasn’t exactly turned out the way the White Sox had hoped.

The White Sox took Major League Baseball by storm after beginning the season at 23-10, which led the American League Central by six games at the time.

But since then, the White Sox have been climbing an uphill battle. They lost 20 of their next 26 games and found themselves fighting to stay above .500.

The White Sox brought in reinforcements in an effort to get their season back on track, adding designated hitter Justin Morneau (via free agency), veteran pitcher James Shields (via trade from San Diego Padres) and 23-year-old shortstop Tim Anderson (Triple-A Charlotte). 

But the White Sox still couldn’t make things click.

“I think you learn how guys struggle and how they try and get out of it,” said manager Robin Ventura. “You see guys that continue to grind through it and try to find it. Some guys find it quicker than other guys. I think the biggest thing is their ability to grind through it.”

The White Sox were officially eliminated from the postseason last Friday and will finish with their fourth straight losing season.

What happens over the offseason remains a mystery. It’s uncertain how their opening roster will look like next season.

If little changes are made, Adam Eaton believes the White Sox can still be contenders in 2017.

“There is a lot of talent here,” Eaton said. “There are a lot of good baseball players in here. It’s not the year we thought. And I think with that exact quote, ‘It’s not the year that we thought,’ if we brought the guys back I think we might have the year we thought we would have.

“The camaraderie is great in here. It’s tough to say whether people will be leaving or whether additions will be added. I’m sure moves will be made. In the game of baseball, there’s never an offseason that’s quiet, I feel like. Whatever Rick (Hahn) and the organization sees would be more functional for this team to be better and more consistent on a day-to-day basis, then that’s what they see in the team.

“If I’m in those plans, great. If not, then it kind of stinks. But if they want me in this uniform next year, I’ll be proud to wear it and I’ll put everything I have on the field again like I did this year.”

Time will tell which direction the White Sox decide to go in. Will they continue to add immediate impact players and build around the same group? Make a few tweaks? Or perhaps even tear it all down and start from scratch?

One thing is for sure, it will be a busy offseason for the White Sox one way or another.

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If the White Sox decide to make any drastic changes like trade Chris Sale — who was a hot topic of discussion around the trade deadline — Eaton knows exactly what he'd do if they faced one another.

“Take the day off,” Eaton said. “No, I don’t want to give away too much because I hope I’m never on that side. Just see ball, hit ball. Be simple. Have a simple approach off him because he can make you look foolish at times. Just have a good competitive at-bat.

“But like I said, easier said than done. He’s made a lot of people look foolish. I hope I’ll never have to do that, to be honest with you. I’d love to be on his team for the rest of my life.”

Adam Eaton returns to White Sox lineup vs. Rays

Adam Eaton returns to White Sox lineup vs. Rays

Adam Eaton is back in the White Sox lineup in their contest against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night on CSN+.

Eaton will bat in the leadoff spot and play right field.

"It’s nice to be back in there and I’m excited," Eaton said prior to Tuesday night's game. "They played really well yesterday, so hopefully we can keep up that same intensity. As I’ve said, I’m excited to get back out there."

Manager Robin Ventura held Eaton out of the game on Monday night, saying that he still needed time to recuperate. But the White Sox outfielder is ready to go.

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Eaton left last week’s game against the Cleveland Indians after crashing into the wall while making a catch. He missed the next three games.

Eaton, who got the wind knocked out of him during the catch, took and passed concussion tests.