MINNEAPOLIS — With nothing to play for but a winning record and second place, it’s all about consolation prizes for the White Sox.
Or more like booby prizes considering the team’s expectations going into the 2023 season, and the way this one is ending. With an 8-4 loss to the Twins Wednesday, the Sox matched their season high eighth straight defeat and now share second place with Minnesota with a 76-79 record.
With September going into free fall, acting manager Miguel Cairo, whose record in charge dropped to 13-14 after a 13-6 start, is running out of things to say.
“There’s nothing else you can say,” Cairo said. “You gotta put it behind. Come back tomorrow and do better. It’s that simple.”
“We’re not playing good baseball,” said losing pitcher Johnny Cueto, who gave up six runs on 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings, his ERA increasing from 3.15 to 3.39.
“We’re going to finish the way we started, we’re going to finish strong,” Cairo said before the game. “I cannot play for them, I cannot pitch for them. They’ve got to do it, they’ve got to have the will, the pride to go out there and do his job.”
Cueto, who stabilized the rotation after being signed to a minor league contract in the spring, will make his last start Monday against the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field. A free agent after the season, it could be his last in a Sox uniform.
Cueto’s uneven start featured four straight hits allowed in the second, then striking out five in a row before giving up three hits in a row in the fourth.
Cairo defends Moncada
Yoan Moncada fouled a pitch off his foot Tuesday night, was limping around Wednesday and having X-Rays for precautionary reasons. He is day to day, Cairo said.
Moncada is batting .212/.278/.358 with 12 homers and a .635 OPS in 98 games. Cairo said Moncada never found his footing this season.
“No excuses but you get hurt the last day of spring training and you miss one month, you’re always going to be playing catchup,” Cairo said.
Cairo also defended Moncada’s laid-back manner.
“A lot of people get him wrong because of the way he is,” Cairo said. “He reminds me of Robinson Cano. When I was with the Yankees [as a coach] everyone said he was too laid back, he was lazy. No, he wasn’t. That was the way he played the game. That was himself. Moncy, he’s so talented. This season, with the injuries he had, in the beginning, it was tough.”
Abreu 300th double
Luis Robert used a translator for a 15-minute interview but answered the last question in English.
“One hundred percent,” he said.
The question? Do the White Sox need Jose Abreu back next season.
Abreu, who will be 36 next year, will be a free agent after the season. He had two hits, including his 300th career double and an RBI single. He also had a misplay after fielding a ground ball, stopping short of throwing home to cut down a run and allowing Matt Wallner to beat him to first base for a single.