- Doug Padilla, Chicago White Sox beat reporter
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Alejandro De Aza could join Jeff Keppinger in being demoted from the upper tier of the order, but so far that idea is only being considered in theory. It has also become clear that Adam Dunn's breakthrough on the last road trip is a thing of the past.
The Cubs' Jeff Samardzija shut the White Sox down with a brilliant outing Monday, but then the struggling Edwin Jackson held them in check at least for the early innings Tuesday before that game was postponed. The Cubs' Scott Feldman then dealt the White Sox another blow with his solid six innings in a 9-3 loss on Wednesday.
The White Sox will cling to the idea that nobody was going to do much off Samardzija and that Feldman has been no slouch either with a 5-1 record and a 2.31 ERA over his last seven starts.
Hitting coach Jeff Manto still considers the White Sox's offense to be improving.
"I think we are," he said after Wednesday's loss to the Cubs. "Unfortunately we faced Samardzija, who probably had the best-pitched game of the year in both leagues. So you have to unfortunately have to tip your cap. We just have to keep battling. The quality of at-bats are getting better. We just hope there are a little bit more results, obviously."
De Aza has shown slight improvement with a .250 (23-for-92) batting average in May, up from .229 in April. But over his last 10 games he is hitting just .122 with an paltry .236 on-base percentage. It isn't the best recipe for setting the table and letting the run producers do their job in the middle of the lineup.
"Anything's possible," manager Robin Ventura said about dropping De Aza in the order. "You just have to keep working at it and we have to find it within our guys because you aren't going to get any help anywhere else."
Alexei Ramirez, whose offense has taken off since moving into the No. 2 hole in place of Keppinger, could be a candidate for the leadoff spot.
"Anything at this point is on the table," Ventura said. "It's not like you're not going to do it. When do you do it? It probably won't be tomorrow."
Aside from the past two games, the White Sox's pitching has been solid. If they can't figure out a way to score runs they won't be a solid team, much less a division contender.
"I'd like to think it's a couple of games," Ventura said. "It can always look worse. You get a team they get a few homers and they look pretty good because you know they can pitch. You have to figure out ways to score a few runs."
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6hRandy Jennings, Special to ESPN.com