They’ve done it before this season, and White Sox players are confident they can find it once again.
Once off to a 23-10 start, the White Sox have been brought back to Earth by a stretch during which they’ve lost 11 of 15. Still, they don’t feel like they’re far off the mark, and eight losses since May 10 by two or fewer runs would suggest they aren’t. But the White Sox know they have to get back to what worked before, and that hasn’t occurred in a stretch where they’ve lost five consecutive series.
“It just hasn’t been as tight as it was when we were winning, making the plays, coming up with clutch hits, throwing the ball where you want to throw it and getting the result,” veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. “The results have been opposite of what we were like."
The pitching hasn’t been as good in this stretch as it was early. The team has a 4.53 ERA in its past 15 games.
But the offense has been much worse.
A group that averaged 5.6 runs per contest from April 25 to May 9 has averaged 3.8 in its last 15 and only 2.8 over the last dozen. Included in that stretch are nine contests with three or fewer runs, of which the White Sox have won two. In their last 12 games, the White Sox have a .289 team on-base percentage.
“We need to get guys on with less than two outs more, and we need to come through,” third baseman Todd Frazier said. “Right now we’re putting a little too much pressure on that instead of just playing our game, maybe a little too much. You’ve got to come back a little bit and understand, take our singles and make the pitcher work. Or, you get on him early, if you get a pitch to hit, we’ve got to do something with it.”
Both Frazier and Rollins said the White Sox merely need to simplify and get back to the basics. Rollins said they need to hit the ball, catch it, execute pitches and score more runs than the other team.
But he knows it isn’t that easy. While it should be, it isn’t.
It’s just that when a team is in a good stretch, there isn’t much to dwell on.
The White Sox have previously shown they’re capable of that state. Now it’s up to them to get back to it.
“When we were doing those things, everything’s going well,” Rollins said. “It’s always like when everything’s going well, everything seems easy. And when they’re not going well, you realize how difficult this game really is.
“We have to find a way to put an end to that. Great series to start that with."
“This game will always give you reminders — ‘Hey, you guys are good, but we’re going to slow you down a little bit.’ You keep at it, it’ll reward.”