Whatever bit of momentum the White Sox had going by winning nine of 12 games going into the All-Star break all but vanished after they lost three of four games to the Kansas City Royals over the weekend.
The third loss, with ace Chris Sale pitching and getting no run support Sunday, dropped the Sox to 42-48 and seemed to all but ensure the Sox will be sellers as the July 31 trade deadlines nears. Even the Detroit Tigers, at 46-46 through Monday, are reportedly preparing to sell.
“Everybody knows it’s there it just depends on what side of it you’re on,’’ manager Robin Ventura said of the deadline. “For us, you know it’s there but you continue to play. Our guys have to be focused on St. Louis and not 10 days from now.
“The only thing you can control is the way you play that night and that’s what you should go out and focus on. There’s no sense worrying about something that’s out of your hands.’’
Saladino soaking it in
Tyler Saladino hasn’t exactly arrived, not with eight major league games under his belt after Tuesday. But he was off to a good start with a .355 average after getting three hits including his second home run in as many games Tuesday. He has made a good impression on the Sox with clean defense and alert play. And the more players with good baseball sense on the field, the better for Ventura.
Saladino said he once overheard Jerry Hairston, his first hitting coach, tell a player to keep his eyes and ears open at all times “because you never know if what someone is saying to one person is what you need to do at the time.’’
“I just try to be a sponge with everything,’’ Saladino said. “That’s what my dad always taught me growing up. Be a sponge, absorb as much information as you can, try to find ways to apply it to make yourself a better ballplayer, try to be well-rounded out here.’’
Saladino, who was 3-for-5 Tuesday, has started every game since getting called up to make his major league debut against the Cubs at Wrigley Field for the weekend series before the All-Star break.
“I’m definitely proud,” he said. “It’s gratifying to have a little bit of success, but at the same time, it just goes to show hard work and preparation pay off, so I’m sticking to that approach.”
This and that
Since June 10, Adam LaRoche (signed to a two-year, $25 million contract last off-season) is hitting .180 with one homer, and nine RBI. In July, LaRoche has no homers two RBI and a .205 on-base percentage. LaRoche was 1-for-4 on Tuesday.
*Before Tuesday, Sox pitchers own a 2.28 ERA and .234 opponents average over the last eight games, and a 2.32 mark and .218 average in the last 16.
The Sox’ 2.32 ERA since June 30 was the second-lowest in the major leagues behind the Cubs (2.18).