The White Sox didn’t hit or catch the ball, and their pitchers couldn’t throw strikes.
That is how they went about trying to prevent a dreadful losing streak from reaching eight games Tuesday against a supposedly inferior opponent. Opening a home stand against the 6-9 Royals, the Sox fell to 6-10 with a 6-0 loss, their eighth in a row to match their longest skein since June 2018, a season in which they lost 100 games.
Much like the 0-6 road trip against two AL Central foes they couldn’t wait to put behind them, this loss offered another complete exhibition of bad baseball for a team with World Series aspirations. The Royals snapped a four-game losing streak.
Left-hander Dallas Keuchel, coming off a disastrous start in Cleveland, was backed by more bad defense and a big zero for offense once again, although five walks over four-plus innings hiked his pitch count to 88 (42 strikes). Sox pitchers issued 11 walks to the team with the lowest walk rate in the AL.
After going hitless in the first three innings, the Royals got two runs in the fourth against Keuchel without getting a ball out of the infield. It started with first baseman Jose Abreu dropping a throw from shortstop Tim Anderson for the Sox’ major league high 19th error, and that set the tone for another bad night. Anderson, on a fairly routine grounder in the eighth, made his seventh error in the last seven days and the Sox’ 20th of the season.
A walk and a slow roller by Bobby Witt Jr. deflecting off third baseman Jake Burger’s glove for a run-scoring infield hit followed. A slow roller by Adalberto Mondesi to Abreu made it 2-0. The Royals sent 10 batters to the plate in a four-run sixth. Four of them walked against Reynaldo Lopez and Kyle Crick (three).
“Is there concern, is there frustration, is there disappointment? Absolutely,” general manager Rick Hahn said before the game. “Is there also perspective that a week ago we were 6-2 and now we’ve had a crap week and we’re 6-9? Can the fact of the matter be, is it one bad week out of a very long season?”
Before a very bad week spilled over into another, Hahn said he believes in the team’s talent and upside.
“There’s no voiding the frustration and disappointment but one of the beautiful things about this sport is the length of the season really forces the cream to rise to the top over the course of the six-month season,” Hahn said.
The Sox were hitting .182/.234/.282 with 22 runs scored for a 2.2 average over their last 10 games. Lefty Dan Lynch held them to no runs on two hits with seven strikeouts over seven innings.
The Sox, who had five hits, were coming off a 6-4 loss Sunday in which Byron Buxton’s three-run homer off closer Liam Hendriks raised much talk about La Russa’s decision to pitch to Buxton with first base open. Hahn was invited into the discussion Tuesday, and declined to agree with La Russa.
“I have opinions on that and those are for those involved in decision making,” Hahn said. “We have those conversations internally and talk things through as a group. Again, ultimately, hopefully give Tony and the coaching staff the best information to make the right decisions.”
Leury Garcia did not play Tuesday, and his usage in the No. 2 and 3 spot in the lineup despite his .098 batting average led to a question for Hahn about La Russa’s lineups.
“We talk almost every day about the issues affecting the team, ranging from player availability and health to usage,” Hahn said. “Ultimately, the manager has the lineup card and he’s the one who will answer any questions you have about how he’s using the players and when and why.”