Losing streaks are hell.
It is my sincere hope that we’ve all already gone through the requisite hand-holding about how “7 games isn’t the end of the world”, “better now than 7 straight losses to blow a 6 game lead in the last week of the season”, and “better 7 losses than Kenny Williams panicking and trading Viciedo for R.A. Dickey”. Sure, this streak and corresponding offensive drought make it pretty clear this isn’t an all-time hitting White Sox team, but analyzing whether the offense needs another bat is hard to do based on under 20 games while half the lineup slumps simultaneously.
We know this.
The problem with losing streaks this long is that it swiftly ceases to
matter. Sitting through another night of the Sox being stung dead in
the water (or in the case of Tropicana Field, in a field of ground-up
tire bits) the moment the opposition scores multiple runs (like the Rays
did in cruising to a 4-1 win Wednesday) is unappealing. Unappealing
like a dip in the Chicago River, unappealing like snorting fiberglass,
unappealing like whatever the hell Tropicana Field’s general aesthetic
Unappealing like resorting to dissing the stadium of a team being the hell out of the White Sox at will.
The days where the bullpen blew sizable leads the offense was once
capable of mounting seem like the relative high times. It was like the
opening sequence of The 40 Year-Old Virgin, where for all his supposed
faults, Steve Carrell’s character was regularly reaching the doorstep of
intimacy with prospective lovers before blowing things in some fluky,
unthinkable manner. Now, the Sox are much more like an actual 40
year-old virgin; so inept and flailing it’s hard to see how they’ll get
This type of desperation makes it extremely tempting to just throw out
tweaks in attempt to score some darn runs. Some of these tweaks are
seemingly foolproof (moving the red-hot Quentin to the 3-spot), some are
potentially short-sighted (back-to-back starts for the superior-hitting
Mark Teahen because he’s suddenly making difficult plays at 3rd), and
some were born strategically bankrupt (bunting for a single run when no
one is any good at bunting).
It also makes it hard to remember all the things the White Sox are doing
right. The three worst pitchers on the roster (apologies to Jeff
Gray…well…I guess not really) combined for only four runs allowed,
and generally the staff is pitching well enough to win. Rios, Pierre,
and Teahen have all shed their cases of the dropsies, and Carlos Quentin
is positively mashing (he’s on pace for 90 doubles! That’s obviously
not going to happen but…90!).
If just anyone could get on base in front of him. I mean, anyone at
all. A single runner. One guy. Or a woman, that’s cool too.
Roster-change away. Something with legs. A llama? Does it know the
strike zone? No matter, just lean into a pitch, they don’t call that
stuff ever anymore. 2 runs would be such a preposterous upgrade.