One left-hander was it.
Jake Diekman, 35-year-old veteran, is all general manager Rick Hahn added to a White Sox team that was so highly thought of — by outsiders and themselves — at the outset of the season but was 52-51 after a 9-2 victory Wednesday against the Royals.
Lucky to be only two games behind the American League Central-leading Twins, a team that beefed up its pitching staff by adding closer Jorge Lopez, reliever Michael Fulmer and starter Tyler Mahle, the Sox were surprisingly quiet Tuesday.
No left-handed bat, no starting pitcher and no more relievers. Just Diekman. Hahn’s message: Now go play like you can.
‘‘We still very much believe in this group that’s inside this clubhouse right now,’’ Hahn said minutes after the trade deadline passed. ‘‘We feel they are very much capable of playing better baseball than we’ve seen over the first few months. There are makings of a potential championship team in there should they get to their accustomed levels of performance.’’
Hahn said he was ‘‘disappointed’’ he couldn’t make another trade or two.
‘‘Unfortunately, we weren’t able to line up on some of our other potential targets,’’ he said. ‘‘Anyone out there who is feeling a level of frustration or disappointment, I’m there with you.
‘‘The market overall was favorable toward the sellers, and we didn’t line up.’’
Hahn said the Sox don’t have the ‘‘swagger’’ that marked their character during the last two seasons, which featured a wild-card berth in 2020 and a division title last season.
An easy thing would be to link that to 77-year-old manager Tony La Russa, but La Russa was there when the Sox won 93 games last season.
‘‘Tony aside, this isn’t an answer about Tony,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘There’s nobody in this building that is satisfied right now. And how we get to where we need to be will be a group effort. And if in the end it doesn’t work, in my opinion, there should be group accountability.’’
The Sox are a poor fielding team, have made remarkably poor choices on the bases and rank 26th in the majors in home runs, a maddening development for a team built to slug.
‘‘You see guys with at-bats where we’re pressing, we’re expanding the zone, we’re chasing, we’re going outside of our offensive approach, and that’s not a recipe for winning,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘I fear that’s in some ways a byproduct of guys trying to do too much.
‘‘One through nine, we’ve got a talented lineup. Our rotation has been strong. Our bullpen, when it’s right and healthy, is an asset. There’s enough talent in there for the next guy to pick up the guy that doesn’t come through. We just need to focus in each at-bat to get back to being the players they’re capable of being.’’
There was nothing wrong with the Sox’ at-bats Tuesday. Eloy Jimenez drove in four runs with a single, double and sacrifice fly, and Jose Abreu hit his team-leading 13th homer off the left-field foul pole, knocking out Royals starter Brad Keller in the sixth. After the Sox pummeled Keller with 13 hits, Gavin Sheets homered in the seventh against reliever Josh Staumont to make it 9-2. Andrew Vaughn and Jimenez each had three hits.
‘‘Credit to our offense tonight,’’ said right-hander Lucas Giolito (7-6, 5.06 ERA), who pitched five innings of two-run ball. ‘‘Just came out focused, prepared. We put together great at-bats all night long.’’
Diekman, Joe Kelly, Matt Foster and Tanner Banks finished with scoreless relief.
There are 59 games to go with almost the same team.
‘‘The front office tried to put some stuff together, and it was a good move getting Diekman,’’ Giolito said. ‘‘But I know the fans and front office are not pleased with how things went down. At the end of the day, it’s on us to come together and have a strong push to the end.’’