NEW YORK -- The offense fooled Robin Ventura once this season.
But aside from a seven-day stretch of gaudy production that will keep the White Sox from being one of the worst offenses in franchise history, the rest of the season has been filled with frustration.
One day after his club officially was eliminated from the postseason, the White Sox manager again pointed to his offense Sunday as the aspect most responsible for an underwhelming season on the South Side. Minus seven straight wins in late July when they scored 54 runs and gave Ventura hope of turnaround, the White Sox offense has averaged 3.7 runs per contest, including Sunday’s 6-1 loss to the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
“You could see things turn around offensively,” Ventura said. “We kind of tweaked it a little bit roster wise and it started to work. We were pitching, playing some defense and getting some runs.
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“We could never keep up that offensive production to that extent but you expected a little bit more out of that. When you are inconsistent offensively, and there will be games where you don’t do it, it just wasn’t consistent enough.”
Sunday was the 79th time this season the White Sox have scored three runs or fewer in 156 games (50.6 percent). It was also the 57th time they’ve scored two or fewer runs. And the White Sox -- who are guaranteed a sub-.500 finish in a third straight season and have missed the playoffs for the ninth time in 10 years -- have been shut out 11 times. They only avoided a 12th shutout Sunday when Avisail Garcia crushed a pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning.
This isn’t the kind of production the White Sox expected from their offense this season. Not with the way they invested in what they believed would be an upgraded roster this season.
While Melky Cabrera (three years, $42 million) has exceeded last year’s RBI total, he hasn’t quite been the on-base machine the White Sox hoped he would be. Adam LaRoche hasn’t offered the type of middle-of-the-order protection for Jose Abreu the White Sox believed he would when they signed him to a $25-million contract.
Alexei Ramirez has somewhat salvaged his season but is way down from when he was a Silver Slugger winner in 2014.
And Garcia hasn’t developed quickly enough to help the White Sox overcome their other issues -- namely minimal offense at catcher, second base and third.
But for those seven days in July, the White Sox put on quite a show as everyone throughout the lineup hit. The run got the White Sox within a game of the .500 mark, had them in the thick of the wild-card race and prevented general manager Rick Hahn from parting with Jeff Samardzija before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline.
While the White Sox have been markedly better in the second half -- they have scored 4.52 runs per game since the All-Star break and averaged 3.4 prior to it -- it hasn’t been enough.
“Any time you see a run like that, you get guys that, we were young in certain spots,” Ventura said. “But once you see the guys that have a history and you expect them to go on a bit of a run just to kind of even it all back up and it just never got over the hump once we started going in the right direction. It never was sustainable. That’s probably the part you just sit there and look at and try to figure out.”