CHICAGO -- Neither Paul Konerko’s return to the lineup nor a rare Adam Dunn home run could keep the White Sox from being swept by the New York Yankees. The White Sox fell 7-2 Thursday night, losing for the sixth time in a row.
The White Sox were hoping this seven-game stretch against the Yankees and Boston Red Sox, two of the best teams in the game, would be a good barometer of how they fare against baseball’s elite. After going 1-6 against the two AL East powers, manager Ozzie Guillen and his team actually seemed relieved to be heading to, of all places, Minnesota, where they are 1-7 on the season.
“Thank God this thing is over with,” Guillen said. “Hopefully we go to the road and turn this thing around and at least have some fun. We have to continue to fight. We don’t have any choices. We have to play better than what we’ve been playing. We caught this team on fire. I think we pay the price. Hopefully we go to Minnesota and Baltimore and turn it around.”
White Sox pitching had been carrying the club in the first 12 games after the All-Star break, but the unit has begun to falter, with an 8.13 ERA in 52 innings pitched during the six-game nose dive. Thursday’s starter Phil Humber made it through six innings for the first time since July 2.
Humber gave up four runs in 6 1/3 innings, which with the way the White Sox's offense has played of late, was more than enough for the Yankees. The Yankees started off the scoring in the second, when the scorching Robinson Cano hit his second home run of the series. Cano went 7-for-15 with two home runs, seven RBIs and five runs scored in the series.
“That one right there, that’s a great piece of hitting, and then the next run they got, they got a lead-off double and two pitches later he’s in,” Humber said. “What can you do? They lay down a perfect bunt and a ground ball scores him. That’s how you win baseball games, little things like that. They’re capitalizing every time they get guys in scoring position. Hopefully, we’re gonna start doing that. Obviously we didn’t pitch the way we wanted to the last few days. But we’ll get back on the horse and hopefully we’ll turn it around.”
It’s those little things that the White Sox's offense has failed to do all year and it’s really starting to cost them during what may possibly be their worst stretch of the season. The lack of runs have been a running theme all season (they’ve scored three or less in seven of their last eight games), but what’s most galling is that the team has failed to draw a walk in the past four games. That’s the longest stretch without a walk since August 5-8, 1968 against the Boston Red Sox.
The lone bright spots for the Sox's bats came in the form of Konerko getting two hits after missing the previous three games and Adam Dunn hitting a home run. Dunn’s homer was the team’s only extra-base hit of the night, though it came in the ninth, when the game was well out of reach.
“I mean [home runs] feel good, it’s just meaningless,” Dunn said. “Personally it felt good, but it meant nothing, had no impact on the game.”
If the White Sox offense and pitching continue to scuffle like they have the past week, the rest of the season may turn out to be pretty meaningless as well.