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White Sox need more than a tuneup

8/1/2013

CLEVELAND -- Like that old clunker in the driveway, the Chicago White Sox are dusty, with chipped paint and four flat tires.

If Tuesday night's Jake Peavy trade started the process of finding new parts to make "Old Reliable" purr again, Wednesday was the night to realize just how trying it will be to complete the rebuild.

The White Sox probably are not as bad as their current run of six consecutive defeats and losses in nine of their past 10 games, but they also aren’t ready to dominate any time soon.

Addison Reed, who has proved to be vulnerable of late, coughed up two ninth-inning runs after the White Sox had scored two of their own in the top of the inning, and Dylan Axelrod gave up the game-winning home run to the Indians' Carlos Santana, the first batter he had faced in eight days.

The concept was that once the non-waiver trade deadline passed, the White Sox might be a relaxed team again with no more uncertainty. The reality is they are all over the place, with an inconsistent offense and a bullpen that is showing the kind of cracks it did when it got off to a slow start to the season.

After trading pitchers Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain and Peavy, the White Sox need to work their way into a flow again, so at the very least the front office can get a better assessment of what kind of players it has heading toward the offseason, when more rebuilding will occur.

The bullpen was supposed to be the strength of the club, with Reed locking down the ninth inning after Nate Jones had cleaned up the eighth. In the end, it was a tall order for a pair of young pitchers who are still expected to anchor the relief corps moving forward.

Wednesday was Reed’s fifth blown save in 31 tries, with the Indians proving to be a particularly difficult endeavor. He not only gave up the tying runs in the ninth on Wednesday, but also gave up four runs to Cleveland on June 28 in a defeat during the second game of a doubleheader.

Reed has looked out of sync of late while not getting regular chances to close games during the White Sox’s struggles. But on Wednesday he made no excuses.

“I feel great,” Reed said. “Things aren’t working out the way I want them to.”

Things aren’t working out how anybody with the White Sox wants them to, and now the Sox will move forward with a roster that is missing three veteran pitchers.

“There’s no answer,” Reed said. “When things are going bad, they’re going bad. It’s something new every night. Tonight, it was 100 percent my fault. Just got to hang with them and get after them tomorrow.”

For the White Sox, it’s all about tomorrow and getting that former prized possession back on the road again.

“I don’t think any of us have an answer for it or else we would have changed and figured it out,” Reed said. “It’s part of the game. I wish I knew how to fix it or what to do about it.”