Giving up four runs in the first inning to the Angels didn't have to sink Jose Quintana last night, but it did. At the absolutely worst time, the resilient 2012 White Sox are missing. These must be their "bizarro world" cousins.
Since the exhilirating 5-4 victory over the Tigers last Monday which extended the Sox's division lead to three, the South Siders' offense has been stagnant. They won 3-2 the following day in the opener vs. the Royals and on their current four-game losing streak against the Royals and Angels they have tallied totals of 0, 3, 2, 2. In addition to the attack diminishing, so has their A.L. Central lead. It's now at a half-game.
A pessimist would say that the half-game lead won't last for long. The Tigers play a doubleheader in Detroit this afternoon against the lowly Twins. And the Sox? Well, they are going to face the league's favorite to win the Cy Young Award--Jered Weaver, who will be going for the 19th win at home. A 1-5 road trip and a second place standing is certainly a strong possibility as the Sox head home to face the Tribe and the Rays.
There have been pitching quirks and fielding quirks and brain camps on this trip, but if you get right down to it, it's been the lack of an offensive threat that's been missing most.
Last year, many pointed to Adam Dunn's emergency appendectomy as the reason that got him off to his historically bad season. This year, Dunn has done little since the oblique problem with no homers.
Kevin Youkilis was brought in to provide an upgrade at third and has--and he's won several games with clutch hits. But I think we were all expecting more from that second hole. The truth is that Youkilis is down to .229.
Paul Konerko is still hitting above .300 after his torrid start, but even he would have to admit he hasn't been the force he was earlier in the season and in the past. And there are reasons he has only 70 RBIs, but it's still 25-30 less than we expected.
Dayan Viciedo has his moments, but is far too inconsistent. Hopefully that will change in the future, but we need him now.
These are just four reasons, four players, that may account for the lack of offense. By no means, should they take the entire blame. Because at different points in the season they were the reasons why we were atop the standings.
The way I look at it, is that we'll all feel a lot better if the Sox can somehow, some way defeat Weaver and the Angels this afternoon. Wherever the Good Guys will be in the standings, the plane ride home will be more comfortable and the Sox more positive about overcoming the Tiger threat.