Looking for positives might be a lost cause for the White Sox in the aftermath of an eight-game losing streak.
But manager Robin Ventura and his club have no choice but to keep their chins up while they attempt to resuscitate a season that is fading fast.
It’s possible that underperforming veterans like Alexei Ramirez, Melky Cabrera and Jeff Samardzija won’t return to the career averages the Sox were counting on. That possibility isn’t lost on Ventura, but what good does it do to dwell on the negative?
“You don’t want to go there,” Ventura said. “There’s been a track record with guys. I know you can easily try and go down that if you want to if you want to go the negative route, but for in here we’re trying to win a game. So you’re trying to find that positive to turn it around and not let them go there.”
The Sox took a positive step Saturday with a 3-2 win over the Rangers at U.S. Cellular Field, snapping their longest winless streak of the season.
A big break went the Sox’ way in the third inning, when Ramirez hit a ground ball that should have been a routine double play. Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus tried to turn the play before collecting the baseball, though, and the ball bounced off his glove and into center field, scoring the second and third runs of the inning.
The Sox only managed one more hit the rest of the game, but starting pitcher Carlos Rodon and relievers Zach Putnam, Zach Duke and David Robertson combined to allow just two runs on four hits.
“[We’re] just a bunch of fighters, man,” Rodon said of the team staying together amid the losing streak. “Everybody works hard. Everybody gets here at 1:30, 1 o’clock. People don’t realize that. And they stay until the game is over, and some guys even stay after and they lift. We come in every day, work hard and like I said, a bunch of fighters that don’t give up.”
Closer inspection of the losing streak reveals at least one positive the Sox can run with: Six of the eight losses were decided by two runs or less. Another was decided by three runs.
Sox pitching held opponents to three runs or less in five of those eight games.
“Besides the butt-kicking in Pittsburgh, the other games were within reach,” catcher Tyler Flowers said. “It’s just a matter of coming up with that big hit at the right time. … We’re not really panicking about it. It’s still early, but it’s getting late. It’s getting time to go. Hopefully, we’re taking steps in the right direction to come up with those big hits and those big plays.”
At 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Royals and nine games under .500, the Sox appear to be sellers before the July 31 trade deadline. But Ventura and the team maintain confidence that there’s enough talent to start a run and get back into contention.
And with Chris Sale leading the way, the Sox have managed to remain united during the skid.
“We’re definitely all pulling the same rope,” Sale said Friday. “There’s no doubt. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. But you can’t stop pulling.”