The peaks and valleys have been palpable for the White Sox this month.
In the span of two weeks, the White Sox have taken series from the Dodgers and Tigers only to be swept by the Angels and Royals. It's been a good-bad-good-bad pattern, though unfortunately for the White Sox the bad has resulted in the club's record dropping to a season-worst four games below .500.
Sunday's 6-3 loss to Kansas City at U.S. Cellular Field finished off the latest sweep, with Andre Rienzo struggling early and the White Sox offense failing to come through with runners in scoring position. The White Sox had good at-bats all game and Rienzo settled down to throw six innings, but those positives didn't go far enough for a victory.
While the White Sox have lost four in a row and sit five and a half games behind Detroit in the AL Central, the team isn't going to enter panic mode after one lousy weekend.
"It's three games," designated hitter Adam Dunn said. "Before these three games, people were talking all kind of stuff. You're going to lose games, and you're going to win games. We had a good series before it and a bad one this time."
Added second baseman Gordon Beckham: "We are scuffling a little bit, but you know it’s part of it. It’s frustrating. I thought we played a pretty good game today in terms of trying to grind out the at-bats and try to do some good things. It just didn’t go our way."
The White Sox came close to breaking through against Royals ace James Shields but were limited to just three runs thanks to picking up just two hits in 14 chances with runners in scoring position.
Adam Eaton led off the bottom of the first with a dubious triple — it skipped past Eric Hosmer at first base, though he wasn't given an error — and scored when Shields balked trying to pick him off third. Alejandro De Aza doubled home the other two runs in the fourth.
The White Sox had rallies quashed in the third, eighth and ninth that could've opened the offensive floodgates. In the third, Jose Abreu drilled a fly ball to center that died at right in front of the wall — "I thought it was over the ivy, to be honest with you," Shields said.
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Beckham and Dayan Viciedo grounded out with two men on in the eighth and ninth, respectively, to stop any chance the White Sox had of making a comeback.
"The good news is we had opportunities," manager Robin Ventura said. "They're still grinding out at-bats and creating opportunities to come back. It just didn't happen."
White Sox players who were here in 2013 know what a losing streak looks like, the kind of one that can doom a season. Despite the four consecutive losses, the White Sox aren't buried, and there's a sense things are still close to clicking.
"I'm not worried about the team," Beckham said. "I think we are doing some good things. I think we just got to get a little bit better in terms of pitching and a little bit better in terms of hitting. If we can put those things together, we can really make a run."