ANAHEIM, Calif. – Just when the White Sox thought they had a little something going.
Squished, like a bug, by the last place Atlanta Braves before the All-Star break and the last-place Los Angeles Angels right after it.
Just when they thought they could go to the Aug. 1 trade deadline with designs on adding to the roster and making a bid at the postseason, four straight losses, 34 straight innings without a run and 40 of the last 41 wrapped around a crushing series sweep had to leave them doubting whether they’re really good enough.
General manager Rick Hahn spoke of the “frustrating” aspect of the Sox’ inconsistencies and their inability to beat teams in the AL Central on Friday before the Angels series began. When it ended with an 8-1 loss to the Angels Sunday, he had to be wondering how his 25-man roster, bolstered the day he spoke with the additions of designated hitter Justin Morneau (1-for-8) and Carson Fulmer (two scoreless innings Sunday), could get flattened by Hector Santiago, Matt Shoemaker and Jered Weaver.
“Very disappointing,’’ third baseman Todd Frazier said in a subdued clubhouse before the Sox left for Seattle to play a significant series against the Mariners, another team harboring wild card hopes. “I remember two years ago on the Reds we did the same thing, lost three in a row to the Yankees [after the All-Star break]. It’s funny how you don’t forget things like that. And we could never find our niche in the second half.
“It can get away like that.’’
The Sox (45-46) fell below .500 for the first time since June 28. What hurts, Frazier said, was wasting excellent starts from right-handers Miguel Gonzalez and James Shields on Friday and Saturday. Jacob Turner, called up from AAA Charlotte to take Carlos Rodon’s start (sprained wrist) wasn’t up to the task but hey, he would have had to pitch a shutout to win Sunday.
A starting rotation of Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Shields, Gonzalez and a healthy Rodon looks to be postseason worthy. But the offense ranks 13th in the AL in homers and OPS and 12th in on-base percentage.
“It’s pretty embarrassing and it starts with me,’’ said Frazier, who has 25 homers and 57 RBI but is batting .211. “I’m the guy [in Saturday’s 1-0 loss] with the opportunity to get a guy in and I have to find a way to put the ball in play. You think back to opportunities after the year is done, what could I have done better? Right now I need to get runners in.’’
Frazier isn’t on an island. Rookie leadoff man Tim Anderson, a spark since getting called up last month, began every game of the series by striking out and was 0-for-11 with six whiffs in Anaheim. The only player who crossed the plate this series was catcher Omar Narvaez, making his major league debut.
“I say one thing, it’s not going to last forever,’’ hitting coach Todd Steverson promised. “I know that. These games are all important and we need to score to win.’’
“Nobody needs to stand at their locker and say ‘hey we haven’t scored in as many innings’ but what is there left to do but to go grind your at-bat out and take your chances at it?
“We’ve been scoring runs all year and we’re going through a slump right now.’’
And it needs to end right now.
“We’ve got to pick it up offensively and do that in Seattle,’’ manager Robin Ventura said.