Drubbing in KC drops White Sox another loss closer to 100

Royals out-hit White Sox 16-3. Sox lose fourth in a row and 16th in last 22.

SHARE Drubbing in KC drops White Sox another loss closer to 100
White Sox catcher Korey Lee strikes out Monday in Kansas City, Mo. (AP)

White Sox catcher Korey Lee strikes out during the sixth inning of a game against the Kansas City Royals Monday, Sept. 4, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP)

AP Photos

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — So this is how a team loses 100 games in a season.

The White Sox, at 53-85 and a season-worst 32 games below .500, are mapping out the blueprint.

Start a weak September schedule by getting swept at home by the Tigers. Then visit the Royals, one of the three teams in baseball with a worse record (43-96) than the one you’re carrying and take a 12-1 clobbering on a hot, steamy Labor Day afternoon in front of just 10,646 fans.

Granted, the Royals threw lefty Cole Ragans, the reigning American League Pitcher of the Month in August, at a Sox lineup missing Luis Robert for a third consecutive game because of a sore quad. Ragans did not allow a baserunner until Yoan Moncada’s single in the fifth.

“He’s got five pitches, you know,” Sox first baseman Andrew Vaughn said. “In today’s game, guys are throwing hard, but a lefty throwing 98 [mph], commanding his stuff, you don’t see like that every day.”

By that time, the Royals were ahead 5-0, having scored in every inning against right-hander Jesse Scholtens, who is trying to prove he belongs in the 2024 rotation. Then they dropped seven runs on Declan Cronin and lefty David Peralta.

With only three baserunners against a dominant Ragans, it’s hard not to have a lackluster appearance. Manager Pedro Grifol wouldn’t get into specifics, but he wasn’t happy with his team’s effort.

“I really don’t have much to say. You guys saw the game, everybody saw the game,” said Grifol, who might have felt embarrassed after losing by 11 runs during his second homecoming of the season in the town he finalized the résumé that got him hired by the Sox.

“In games like that, you’re always going to get inconsistent effort,” he said. “Am I OK with it? No, I am not. Am I going to address it? Yes, I am.”

There were no blatant signs of lack of hustle, so perhaps Grifol saw things in the undertow of this latest loss that didn’t sit well. Asked to elaborate, he said, “I’m not going to get too deep in the effort. I didn’t like it for the most part, and we’ll address it.”

The loss was the latest reminder of just how big of a job new general manager Chris Getz is facing. There are 24 games left for a team that started the season with a 7-21 record and never recovered.

“Somewhere along the way, it spiraled out of control,” chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said last week. “Some of it was the clubhouse, and I think we’ve corrected that. And some of it was bad luck. Some of it was just people not playing up to their potential. But it was a nightmare. This season was absolutely a nightmare.”

The sooner everyone can speak of it in the past tense, the better for all. With games against the Royals, Tigers, Twins, Nationals, Red Sox, Diamondbacks and Padres left, the Sox must go 10-14 down the stretch to avoid 100 losses. They were outhit 16-3, scoring only an unearned run in the eighth en route to their fourth consecutive loss and 16th in the last 22 games.

“Yeah, we just lost 12-1,” Vaughn said. “It’s definitely not a good feeling. It’s a gut punch.”

“Losing sucks,” Scholtens said.

Edward Olivares homered against Scholtens and Peralta, and Nelson Valazquez homered against Scholtens (1-7, 4.38 ERA), who gave up five runs, nine hits and one walk in 3‰ innings. Sox starters own a 7.47 ERA in the last 11 games.

“Pretty much every aspect of my pitching wasn’t good,” Scholtens said.

As for effort, Scholtens said everyone is “trying to put forth the best game we can,” and Vaughn said “guys are going out there, taking ground balls, putting in the work.”

Ragans (6-4, 3.00 ERA) struck out seven and faced one batter over the minimum.

Perhaps these Sox just aren’t very good.

The Latest
The unidentified man died of multiple injuries from an assault he suffered Monday in the 4300 block of West North Avenue.
Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike said Friday that the issue believed to be behind the outage was not a security incident or cyberattack. It said a fix was on the way.
Cheng, who had been diagnosed with a rare illness with symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease, passed away Wednesday at home surrounded by her loved ones, her family wrote on Facebook.
Few people realize what a wide range of career and technical education programs the Chicago Public Schools offers, says guest columnist Lashaunta Moore, who learned broadcast media skills at Percy L. Julian High School in Washington Heights.
Woman loved her late parents but wants to clarify her fuzzy memories of inappropriate touching.