KANSAS CITY, Mo. — They may be reeling from two awful losses, but Alex Avila expects he won’t see any let up from his White Sox teammates.
He’d better not.
Whereas they should be in position to close out a sweep of the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, the White Sox are trying to avoid one after consecutive stunning losses, including allowing seven runs in the bottom of the ninth on Saturday in an 8-7 loss.
Asked how they have to respond, the veteran catcher said his White Sox teammates have little choice — play hard or don’t bother showing up.
“The way you stop it is you come back tomorrow and make something happen,” Avila said. “They’re not going to feel bad for us. So you can’t feel sorry for yourself. It’s an extremely tough loss for sure. That’s a game we should have won. There’s been a few games we should have won. The way we’ve been playing have given a lot of people doubt.
“But guys in here, if they have any shred of doubt in their mind of what they can do, even though we’re struggling, don’t even come. No one’s going to feel sorry for you in this game. Even if you’re struggling, battle your ass off. There’s no room for feeling sorry for yourself and doubting your ability and your team’s ability. We’re going through a tough two-week stretch. The good thing is it’s right now at the end of May here. Try to finish these last few games in May strong and take it into June and see if we can make a better month out of it.”
The White Sox appeared to respond well to Friday’s game, one in which they blew a four-run lead, until the bullpen melted down for a second straight day. Even though none of their big run producers came through, the White Sox pulled ahead 7-1 on the strength of home runs by Tyler Saladino and Avisail Garcia.
But then the impossible happened and the Royals rallied to win a game in which their win probability was 0.1 percent after David Robertson struck out Paulo Orlando to start the ninth inning. Robertson only recorded one more out as he allowed six runs and Tommy Kahnle allowed another in an 8-7 loss.
“I’m not surprised or satisfied the way our team has responded to tough losses,” Avila said. “I expect it. No matter what the situation was the game before, I expect each guy in here to be prepared the very next day. If they’re not, then there’s an issue. Guys have been coming to play every single day and doing their homework and getting prepared for each game. If they weren’t, it’d be an issue. But guys have been doing that and we’re kind of going through one of those spells where instead of finding ways to win, we’re finding ways to lose games. Most teams will go through it or have gone through it. I know the first month we were playing great and the Royals weren’t playing well, the Tigers weren’t playing well and Cleveland wasn’t playing well. It was like, ‘Well, we’re going to run away with it,’ and flipped the script. Things can change pretty quickly over the course of a week or two weeks, even a month. That’s my point on why you have to come and make sure you’re prepared — that doubt in your mind about the day before is gone and you have to be ready no matter what because nobody is going to feel sorry for you.”