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.
Opening a homestand against the Royals, the Sox fell to 6-10 with a 6-0 loss, their eighth in a row to match their longest skid since June 2018, a season in which they lost 100 games.
Things are beginning to spin out of control. And a team with World Series aspirations, while saying it’s early, also is starting to press.
”And you can see it,” manager Tony La Russa said. ”There was some frustration, which is good. If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t be frustrated. The way to end the frustration is just to execute better and be more productive.”
Much like in their 0-6 road trip to Cleveland and Minneapolis that the Sox couldn’t wait to put behind them, this loss offered more bad baseball. The Royals snapped a four-game losing streak.
Left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who was coming off a disastrous start against the Guardians, was backed by more shoddy defense and a big zero for offense, although he walked five in four-plus innings. Sox pitchers issued 11 walks to a Royals team with the lowest walk rate in the AL.
”Tonight, it started with me,” Keuchel said.
After going hitless in the first three innings, the Royals got two runs in the fourth without getting a ball out of the infield. First baseman Jose Abreu dropped a throw from shortstop Tim Anderson for the Sox’ major-league-high 19th error before a walk and a slow roller by Bobby Witt Jr. that deflected off third baseman Jake Burger’s glove for a run-scoring infield hit followed.
”A tough play, but I have to do better,” Burger said.
A slow roller by Adalberto Mondesi to Abreu made it 2-0.
The Royals then sent 10 batters to the plate in a four-run sixth. Four of them walked against relievers Reynaldo Lopez (one) and Kyle Crick (three).
Anderson later made his seventh error in the last seven days — and the Sox’ 20th of the season — on a grounder in the eighth.
”Is there concern, is there frustration, is there disappointment? Absolutely,” general manager Rick Hahn said before the game.
Hahn, however, reminded everyone that it’s April and that he still believes in the Sox’ talent and upside.
”There’s no avoiding 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,” Hahn said.
The Sox are averaging two runs in their last 11 games and are hitting .171 with runners in scoring position in their last 13. Royals left-hander Daniel Lynch held them to two hits and struck out seven in seven innings.
The Sox, who had five hits, were coming off a 6-4 loss Sunday to the Twins in which Byron Buxton’s walk-off home run against closer Liam Hendriks stirred much talk about La Russa’s decision to pitch to him with first base open. Hahn was invited into the discussion Tuesday.
”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.”
As for criticism of La Russa for relying too much on slumping utility player Leury Garcia, who didn’t play Tuesday, 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.”
No one on the card Tuesday did much of anything.
”At this level, it’s mostly between the ears, the heart, the guts,” La Russa said. ”And we need to have some success to get it rolling, like [Wednesday] afternoon.”