CLEVELAND — The White Sox were heralding the fine showings by some of their prospects in minor-league all-star games the night before, and they will promote a bunch of them in their well-regarded farm system with some fanfare Thursday.
Michael Kopech’s control problems at Class AAA Charlotte notwithstanding, there are enough good things going on in the Sox’ land of prospects to numb the pain from what’s happening on the major-league field these days, but as one retiring Sox broadcaster might say had he called this latest unsightly loss, “Mercy!”
At Progressive Field on Wednesday, the Sox had two hits and lost their seventh game in a row, this one a 12-0 pummeling from the Indians to complete a second three-game series sweep in 2½ weeks on the American League Central leaders’ field.
It was bad from the get-go, with right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, arguably the Sox’ best starter and an important developing future rotation piece, walking leadoff man Francisco Lindor on four pitches. After that, second baseman Yoan Moncada ranged to his left and made his ninth error on Michael Brantley’s ground ball. And then Lopez grooved one to Jose Ramirez, who lifted it over the center-field wall for his 22nd homer and a quick 3-0 lead.
While Lopez lasted 4„ innings, Corey Kluber gave up one measly hit in seven innings — a half-swing single down the third-base line by catcher Omar Narvaez in the second. The Indians didn’t need more runs, but they got six more against right-hander Bruce Rondon in the sixth after manager Rick Renteria got ejected for arguing a called strike on Moncada’s 102nd strikeout of the season.
“It’s unacceptable for us to look the way we looked today,’’ Lopez said. “Nobody is happy about it. Honestly, we looked like clowns there, starting with me.’’
Those were strong words of frustration from a quiet clubhouse that, during spring training and most of the first two months of the season, was lively regardless of game outcomes but has lost some life during a skid that has dropping the team to a season-worst 25 games below .500 at 24-49.
“They have to go through the suffering, even if it’s coming from their manager saying, ‘Hey that’s a play that has to be made,’ ’’ Renteria said. “That’s suffering for them, too. They have to give it the importance it requires.’’
Moncada’s defense has demanded more attention than the Sox would care to have to fret over. Renteria made a point after the game to say the play on the ground ball needed to be made. Moncada said he “miscalculated the bounce.’’
For Renteria, the issue for the physically gifted 23-year-old was “focus,” which he has addressed in the past.
Not all of the Sox’ woes, even in a rebuilding year, can be blamed on youth.
“We’re trying to stay focused and be motivated to get good results on the field,’’ Lopez said. “For me, we’re not having these kinds of performances because we’re young. That’s not the reason we’re losing games.
“It’s just part of the rebuilding process. For me it’s about intensity, for us to play the way we know we can play the game. I know we can be better.’’
It can’t get much worse, seemingly, for a team headed home for a four-game series against the Athletics starting Thursday.
“We can’t get frustrated,’’ Moncada said. “It’s tough, but instead of getting frustrated, we have to keep working, use that feeling to work harder. I think that there are still plenty of games to play, and we can improve. We can keep getting better, and if it’s not this year, then next year. But definitely the games we have this year, we have a chance to improve.’’