White Sox struggling with AL Central foes

CHICAGO -- The White Sox’s better brand of baseball over the past few weeks apparently doesn’t have anything to do with play inside of their own division.

Coming off a sweep of the Red Sox at Boston, the White Sox were poised to do some damage in the American League Central this weekend. Or not. A three-game home series with the Detroit Tigers ended Sunday evening with the White Sox having lost two of the games.

That leaves the Sox with a 6-9 record against division opponents. Even the last-place Minnesota Twins are an even .500 (9-9) in the division. Only the Royals (9-16) have fared worse inside the division.

“I always say, when you play against your own division, those games mean a lot,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I think the Tigers are where they are because I look at the record they have against our division and it’s pretty good. And most of those [wins] are against the White Sox.”

Indeed, the White Sox are just 1-5 against the Tigers this season. Surprisingly, they are 4-1 against the Cleveland Indians, who started play Sunday with the best record in baseball at 33-23.

When it comes to play against other divisions, the White Sox are only slightly better against the AL East (11-12) and the AL West (9-11).

“In our position, we hope it comes down to the end,” Paul Konerko said. “Where we’re at now, we hope it comes down to the end. I think Detroit is a good, solid team and they’ve got those two horses in the rotation. And I think Cleveland is for real. They have some young players coming into their own and their starting pitching. They have some guys doing well. We’re not doing it right now. We’re trying, we’re pushing and we’re winning some games here and there.”

It’s not too late, though. The White Sox still have 57 games left to play against division foes this season, including 19 in July (seven immediately before the All-Star break and 12 immediately after).

“I think the thing I ask players the most is to take it one day at a time,” Guillen said before Sunday’s game. “It gives you a chance to win and see at the end of the road where we’re going to be. I think we’re playing well right now. Hopefully we will continue to play well right now. If we continue to play the way we’re playing, this ballclub will have a good chance. And we add [Alex] Rios' and [Adam Dunn]'s bats from now on, this ballclub will be better.”

Dunn entered play Sunday with a .178 batting average while Rios was at .199. They have combined for 37 RBIs. Paul Konerko (44) and Carlos Quentin (40) each have more than that.

“We cannot worry about what they not doing so far,” Guillen said. “How about let’s worry about what they can do for the rest of the season. Whatever they did bad, just throw it away. What you can do to help from now on? It’s too late now to worry about April, May. I was very bad. Don’t worry about that. It’s over. Just worry about how I will help this ballclub in June, July, August and September. That’s four months to help”