DETROIT —Proceed with caution.
Or if you’re the sort who enjoys seeing bad movies and traffic accidents.
Or just plain bad.
To wade through a review of what transpired on a brutal White Sox road trip capped off by a fitting 5-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday leaves one wondering what became of the high-energy, fun-loving gang that had rolled to a 23-10 start.
Here is what that team has done lately:
*Sunday’s loss completed a three-game Tigers sweep and a 2-7 road trip which got going with a horrific three-game sweep by the Kansas City Royals in which the bullpen blew three leads, including a six-run advantage in the ninth inning of the second game.
*The Sox are 2-10 in their last 12 games and 6-18 in their last 24.
*The road trip saw center fielder Austin Jackson miss the series against the Mets and Tigers after he suffered a foot injury against the Royals last Sunday and Melky Cabrera, one of the most productive hitters on a lineup lacking punch, miss the Tigers series because of a family emergency.
Jason Coats, a hot-hitting AAA outfielder called up because of the outfield shortage, collided at full speed with center fielder J.B. Shuck near the warning track, suffered a five-stitch cut to his mouth. Coats somehow made the catch, but with trainer Herm Schneider guiding him, he walked off the field, the loser to Shuck in a technical knockout.
It’s been that kind of week and a half.
What’s more, even the Sox’ top two starters, Cy Young candidate Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, who took an AL-best 2.13 ERA into his start Sunday, can’t win. Quintana is 0-5, after allowing five runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings in his last five starts and Sale is 0-2 with a no-decision in his last three.
The Matt Albers game, in which the right-handed reliever doubled and scored the winning run in a 13-inning, 2-1 victory over the Mets Wednesday afternoon, supplied a breath of levity to the trip and gave the Sox a two-game winning streak. But it so depleted the bullpen that, after an off day Thursday, manager Robin Ventura was forced to use Tommy Kahnle – a role player in that Royals’ seven-run ninth on Saturday – and rookie Matt Purke in relief of Carlos Rodon in the Tigers’ 10-2 series opening victory Friday. Kahnle and Purke were routed.
And so the Sox, beaten up, reeling and using 37-year-old shortstop Jimmy Rollins (.224) at designated hitter for the entire Tigers series, head home to face the Washington Nationals for three games starting Tuesday. After that, it’s a series against the Royals – who are 5-1 against the Sox. The Royals, Indians and Tigers are all having their way with the Sox, who are 9-12 against the AL Central but 3-12 against teams not called the last-place Minnesota Twins. They’ve lost nine in a row in the division.
Sunday’s loss dropped the Sox to 29-28, and they know a reversal needs to happen, like starting now.
“It has been a tough stretch,” Ventura said. “But there is nowhere to go but up. You have to take this blow, and push back at some point. You get a day off and go ahead and regroup.
“You have to get healthy first. You get Melky back, hopefully our bullpen will be able to right itself. You can line those guys back up and get a lead and hold on to it.”
Maybe James Shields will help.