White Sox now at the bottom of the barrel

White Sox now at the bottom of the barrel

White Sox now at the bottom of the barrel
July 24th, 2007

(Sports Network) - The 2005 World Series Champion Chicago White Sox officially have garnered a new title: The last-place White Sox.

Thanks to a current four-game slide, Chicago now finds itself in the basement of the American League Central Division standings along with the Kansas City Royals. And with four more games to play this week against the first-place Detroit Tigers, the immediate future is not looking so promising for Chicago.

"With what we've gone through as a team, it has been a long season," said pitcher Mark Buehrle on Monday, after he suffered his worst loss of the season. "It's not over. Mathematically we are not out of it, but I don't know how much closer it's going to get."

The current skid began on Friday against Boston, with White Sox starter Jose Contreras getting hammered for 10 runs in a 10-3 loss to the Red Sox.

Contreras, now 5-12 with a 5.76 ERA, has looked like a shell of his former self this season. At the very least, manager Ozzie Guillen and pitching coach Don Cooper said they were encouraged by the way Contreras was throwing. He was in fact reaching 93 mph on the radar gun, but many of his pitches caught too much of the plate against a dangerous Boston lineup.

On Saturday, it was John Danks' turn to get roughed up by the Red Sox bats as Boston cruised this time to an 11-2 victory. Danks gave up four runs in six innings to have a personal three-game win streak snapped, but the Chicago bullpen struggled even more to contain the Red Sox hitters.

The White Sox 'pen has a collective ERA above 6.00 on the season, and it is over 7.50 since May 8.

Sunday was another game against Boston, and another loss. Jon Garland was the next starter to get shelled, as he allowed six runs (both on three-run homers) in just 4 2/3 innings. He also walked five batters.

On Monday against the Tigers, it was Buehrle's turn. Detroit kicked off the five-game series with a 9-6 triumph, with Buehrle allowing season-highs of seven runs and 14 hits.

In their postgame remarks, the players offered little insight to the team's struggles, other than to say they are trying. General manager Kenny Williams has been quiet on the trade front, saying he will not add anything new on the subject until a deal has been made. Regardless, there isn't much left for Williams to say that he hasn't already said publicly about his team's struggles this season.

"This is the hand we've been dealt and there's no sense in crying about it," Williams said. "It's up to me to rectify the situation."

INJURY NEWS

A few White Sox players continue to work their way back to the lineup. Outfielder Scott Podsednik (ribs) has completed his minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte and is expected to return to the lineup for Tuesday's doubleheader with the Tigers.

Fellow outfielder Darin Erstad is continuing to rehab his sprained ankle in Charlotte.

"(Erstad is) still sore, that's what I hear, that he's not 100 percent yet to come back," Guillen told the team's official web site on Tuesday.

Third baseman Joe Crede was seen in the team's clubhouse yesterday, when he reaffirmed that he will not be return this season as he recovers from back surgery.

WHO'S HOT

Rob Mackowiak and A.J. Pierzynski each have seven hits in their last 20 at- bats. But aside from those two, none of the White Sox players are hitting better than .300 over the last seven games.

WHO'S NOT

As mentioned, nobody in the lineup is particularly "hot" at the moment. However, Paul Konerko has struggled more than usual, with just four hits in his last 26 at-bats.

A LOOK AHEAD

Javier Vazquez (7-5, 3.73) will pitch the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader as the White Sox continue their series with Detroit. Jeremy Bonderman will go for the Tigers. Gavin Floyd (0-1, 9.53) gets the nod for Chicago in game two against Virgil Vasquez (0-1, 20.25).

Contreras tries to rebound from his last outing when he takes the mound on Wednesday, though he will do so against veteran Kenny Rogers (3-2, 3.77). And on Thursday, Danks (6-7, 4.88) will close out the series against Justin Verlander (11-3, 3.40).

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