KANSAS CITY -- In the dark cloud of a 7-5 loss to the Royals on Wednesday night, marking the White Sox sixth straight loss to start the second half, there was a ray of hope or two shining through for the visitors at Kauffman Stadium.
Ryan Goins was one of those standouts for a team now sitting at a season-worst eight games under .500. At 31, he’s not a part of the team’s long-term rebuild, but Goins belted his first home run since Sept. 25, 2017, in his White Sox debut against the team he played for last season.
“But one day is not going to make the whole season. You have to keep putting together good days, and hopefully good things will happen.”
That mantra rings true for the White Sox as a whole.
Since closing out the first half with an impressive 42-44 mark in the third season of the rebuild, the White Sox have struggled on this tough three-city, three time zone, 10-game road trip. They went 13 1/3 innings without an extra-base hit until Welington Castillo doubled to left off winning pitcher Danny Duffy in the fifth.
Castillo promptly was thrown out at third trying to advance on a pitch that got past Royals catcher Meibrys Viloria, who took advantage of a perfect bounce back to him off the wall. With two on and one out in the fourth, Leury Garcia was doubled off second on a James McCann line drive to Whit Merrifield, who was stationed just a few feet behind Garcia.
And then there was starter Ivan Nova, who lost for the second time in two second-half starts. Nova allowed two runs on four hits in the first, but he cruised until the fifth when he gave up a two-out bloop single to Merrifield. The veteran starter known throughout his career for pinpoint control walked the next three hitters and departed after Jorge Soler’s two-run single.
Those walks were more a factor of not giving in against Royals’ hitters fouling off good pitches. They still counted toward six runs allowed over 4 2/3 innings.
“It's a tough break, man,” said Nova, who walked five and fanned two. “It's getting frustrating, but keep working, and we know we're going to get out of this.
“I believe in myself, I believe in these guys. We have what? Two months and something left? We have a lot of time to turn this around and keep working hard.”
Along those lines of turning things around, let’s go back to those good moments for the White Sox. AJ Reed, who joined the club at the start of the second half, launched his second career pinch-hit home run and the team’s second this season to cut the deficit to 7-5 in the ninth.
With no Jimenez and no Tim Anderson for at least the next two weeks, the left-handed power-hitter could be one of those players filling the void on offense.
“You can relax a little bit more,” Reed said of the White Sox opportunity. “Go up there and thinking about actually hitting instead of the result.”
Regardless of the rebuild or the key missing players, the White Sox have not gotten it done since arriving in Oakland last Thursday.
“We have to keep playing. It's the only thing left,” manager Rick Renteria said. “If they keep battling like they did today toward the end, which is a little bit of the better life than we've seen over the last six days, there's still so much baseball left. We have to just get back on track. All in all, didn't give up.”