Sox still working on learning curve

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
12:16
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Nearly four months into a transition season, the Chicago White Sox are still working on consistency.

When one part of their game is hot, all other areas seem to retreat, making it more than obvious why they are sitting at 48-53 on the year and have not been as high as .500 since June 11, when they were 33-33.

[+] EnlargeScott Carroll
Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY SportsScott Carroll pitched decently Tuesday, but things caught up to him eventually in a home loss to the Royals.
After June 11, the club went through its roughest stretch of the season, immediately losing four consecutive before ultimately dropping nine out of 11 games and 11 out of 14.

The White Sox are better after pulling out of their tailspin with three consecutive victories at Toronto to end June, but a serious win streak has continued to escape the club.

On Tuesday, in a 7-1 defeat to the Kansas City Royals, there was no part of the White Sox's game that stood out. A lackluster offense was to be expected with Jose Abreu getting a day off, and the team is still trying to get a handle on the back end of the rotation.

Scott Carroll got his first start of the second half, and, while he was solid through five innings, things finally caught up to him in the sixth, when the Royals broke loose.

The White Sox started the day a mere 5½ games out of the final wild-card spot, but their focus is better spent on matching up starting pitching with solid offense, great defense and smart baserunning for an extended period.

"We've played relatively well all season, but it seems like bad luck came our way or we've struggled in certain situations," Adam Eaton said. "But if we can have one good month where we catch fire …"

If they can catch fire, it means they have learned to marry more than one part of their game. Only then can they legitimately look forward.

"This is where we need to get hot," Eaton said. "You look at Boston [in 2013] or teams of the past, the Giants [in 2010 and 2012], they get hot at the right time and then they continue to flow into the playoffs. Some of the teams that have won the World Series have barely made it into the playoffs, and then, all of the sudden, they get hot at the right time. We're hoping we'll be that team. I think everyone in this clubhouse and the front office believes that. We have one good month and we squeak in [to the playoffs], and all we need is a chance."

After a game like Tuesday's, though, the White Sox look more like a team that has figured out long-term solutions at the leadoff spot and the heart of the order with Abreu but still needs to find answers at other key positions, as well as the back end of the rotation and the bullpen.

The key is that the White Sox have shown improvement this year while undergoing a roster rebuild that never did seem as if it was going to be a one-year proposition.

"Yeah, that's just part of going through it and being able to stay consistent," manager Robin Ventura said. "We don't get on one of those big runs. Even tonight, I don't know that we did anything all that great tonight.

"You are not going to go on a big run unless you do that. All the way around tonight, you are going to lose a game like that. We didn't pitch well. We didn't field well. We didn't hit well."

The White Sox haven't seemed to put all the positives of their game together on the same day, but they have managed to line up all their faults in a row.

"Your chances of extending a winning streak aren't going to happen [that way]," Ventura said. "You just have to be better than that."

Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jose Abreu
BA HR RBI R
.319 35 103 77
OTHER LEADERS
HRJ. Abreu 35
RBIJ. Abreu 103
RA. Ramirez 78
OPSJ. Abreu .975
WC. Sale 12
ERAC. Sale 2.20
SOC. Sale 198