Although “underachieving” and “disappointing” loom as frequent modifiers of the Chicago White Sox, “contending” continues to apply, as well.
Despite four straight defeats and losses in nine of their past 11, the defending American League Central champion White Sox entered the week trailing division-leading Cleveland by just five games with more than five weeks remaining in the regular season.
Tuesday’s visit from the Kansas City Royals offers the White Sox their latest chance to reset, a process that players realize they can’t take lightly.
“You’ve got to ride the wave. Ebbs and flows,” infielder Josh Harrison said. “But at the same time, you’ve got to acknowledge where you are and be realistic, and know that we had a chance to win some of those games. Fell short, but if that doesn’t light a fire under somebody, they’ve got to look in the mirror. I don’t think it’s a thing where me or anybody else has got to light a fire under anybody.”
Manager Tony La Russa asserted that position authoritatively after Chicago’s most recent defeat, Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks that saw the White Sox squander a superb effort from Cy Young candidate Dylan Cease.
Run support was shoddy again, as Chicago scored four runs or fewer for the 10th time in the past 13 games.
“I don’t like, ‘frustration,’ ‘discouragement,'” La Russa said. “That’s loser crap. Just seeps energy out of your body. I just get angry and want to do something about it.”
The Royals reside 11 1/2 games behind the White Sox in the standings, yet they come to Chicago with a slightly sunnier disposition.
Kansas City closed a 3-3 homestand with the White Sox, Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres by rolling to a 15-7 win against the Padres on Sunday afternoon. Royals manager Mike Matheny called it “one of those relentless-push offensive days.”
Leadoff man Michael A. Taylor led off the bottom of the first with a home run, sparking the Royals to a season-high-tying 18 hits with three hits and four RBIs. Taylor entered Sunday in a 4-for-38 slump.
“I’ve dealt with timing issues,” Taylor said. “I feel like my swing kind of got away from me a little bit, seeing length in my swing that wasn’t there earlier. So just trying to get back to the drills that I believe in and the things that are going to help.
“Whenever you can get a couple of knocks, it always takes a little bit of the pressure off.”
Kansas City, which is 5-3 against Chicago this month, will look to right-hander Brady Singer (7-4, 3.15 ERA) to continue his dominance of the White Sox.
Singer, who pitched seven innings of one-run, four-hit ball on Wednesday to defeat Arizona, is 2-1 with a 2.01 ERA in four games (three starts) against Chicago this season, with 20 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings. He is 3-2 with a 2.91 ERA in eight career appearances versus Chicago, including seven starts.
Righty Lucas Giolito (10-7, 5.14) gets the call for Chicago. Giolito, who has won four of five starts in August, is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in two starts against the Royals this season and 9-4 with a 3.45 ERA in 19 career starts versus Kansas City.
–Field Level Media