The streak is dead.
The White Sox couldn’t get to six straight wins Saturday afternoon, losing for the first time on this homestand to a Cleveland Indians team that made its fair share of mistakes, adding two fielding errors to the four it committed Friday.
The White Sox made some mistakes, too, though, none that loomed larger than the double pickoff, or whatever you want to call it. On that base running blunder, Yolmer Sanchez got picked off second base, only for Charlie Tilson to stumble while scrambling back to first and get tagged out there for a double play that ended the third inning. It was an embarrassing blown opportunity.
In the end, though, that goof probably meant less than the White Sox mustering only four hits against Cleveland pitching. Regardless, the South Siders didn’t get to .500 on Saturday and won’t be able to before leaving the South Side for a two-city trip after Sunday’s series finale against Cleveland.
But a bummed-out mood in the White Sox clubhouse signaled the different feeling around this team this week. Getting their brains beat in by the scorching-hot Minnesota Twins wasn’t exactly unexpected last weekend. Just six games later, a loss was being treated like a kind of gut punch.
“You can see the frustration here today,” catcher James McCann said after the game. “Today's game could have very easily gone the other way. It very easily could have been a 5-2 victory for us. That's part of the game. We had a good streak and guys are ready to bounce back tomorrow.”
It’s been clear all week that the White Sox didn’t want this streak to end. Winning games in bunches was a new experience for a team that lost a combined 195 games during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Having the good times come to a screeching end, that’s a new experience, too.
This winning streak was the most tangible example of rebuilding progress to date, perhaps. All the bright spots this season — Lucas Giolito, Tim Anderson, Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada, Alex Colome, McCann — came together to finally achieve the ultimate goal of the game: winning.
The lesson to be learned this time is that one speed bump doesn’t have to bring the good feelings, the feelings of progress to an end, especially not just two months into a 162-game campaign.
“The talent that’s in this room is just unbelievable to watch,” relief pitcher Aaron Bummer said before Saturday’s game, “and it’s so much fun to see those pieces starting to fall into place. It’s seeing that light at the end of the tunnel, so everyone’s making that jump forward. Hopefully we propel that for the next week, for the next month, for the rest of the season.”
Bummer didn’t pick up a baseball glove for the first time yesterday, and he knows that “the rest of the season” doesn’t mean winning out. Obviously the winning streak was going to end. But it doesn’t mean the positive steps have to cease.
And so that will be the White Sox next test, starting Sunday.
“We're going back to work tomorrow. Nothing changes,” starting pitcher Ivan Nova said after Saturday’s loss. “We lost a game, but everybody keeps their head up and keeps working.”