Chicago interim manager Miguel Cairo tore into the White Sox’s effort after they finished an 0-6 homestand with a lackluster 4-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.
So how did the White Sox respond?
How about getting just two hits and striking out 14 times in a 4-0 loss to Bailey Ober and the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night in Minneapolis, their seventh straight defeat.
“We didn’t swing,” Cairo said. “I don’t think it was the effort or anything. We didn’t hit. It’s hard to win when you have two hits and one walk and (14) strikeouts. How you going to score?”
Chicago (76-78) has scored a total of just 10 runs over its past six games.
The White Sox, who saw their second-place lead in the American League Central over the Twins shrink to one game, will turn to veteran right-hander Johnny Cueto (7-9, 3.15 ERA) in the second game of the three-game series on Wednesday. Minnesota will counter with right-hander Josh Winder (4-5, 4.20).
Cueto would seem to be perfect guy to have on the mound as Chicago attempts to halt its late-season nosedive. He is 4-0 with a sparkling 1.41 ERA in five career starts against Minnesota, including 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in two starts in Minneapolis.
But, as Cairo is quick to point out, pitching hasn’t been Chicago’s problem during the losing streak.
“It’s hard to win games when you don’t score runs,” Cairo said. “(Ober) pitched great. Lance (Lynn) pitched great, too. We didn’t score. Simple as that.”
Winder is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two career appearances, one start, against the White Sox. He is 0-2 in three starts this month, having allowed nine runs and 16 hits in 14 2/3 innings.
In the opener of the three-game series, Ober allowed two hits over 7 1/3 innings and Matt Wallner hit a two-run homer to lead Minnesota (75-79).
Ober, making his third start since missing more than three months with a groin injury, struck out the side in both the second and fifth innings and had a streak of five consecutive strikeouts at one point. He finished with a career-high 10 strikeouts while walking one.
“Everything he did stood out,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “You could tell from very early on how he felt and how he was throwing the ball, which was at a super high level. His ability to kind of rip those sliders, that was pretty fantastic.”
All 10 of Ober’s strikeouts came on swings and misses.
“This was a fantastic night for him all the way around,” Baldelli said.
Lynn took the loss after yielding four runs on 10 hits in five-plus innings. He admitted that a three-game sweep by Cleveland that started the losing streak and squashed Chicago’s hopes of catching the Guardians has been hard for the White Sox to overcome.
“It’s been tough when you kind of get knocked down like that, when you’re trying to make a push there,” Lynn said. “It’s tough. But we have eight games left now and we still have to figure out how to play strong and finish as strong as we can, not only for ourselves but for the fans.
“We have Johnny going (Wednesday). Hopefully we can start a winning streak and end on a high note.”
–Field Level Media