First-inning deficit continues to get deeper
White Sox outscored 56-19 in opening frame
CHICAGO -- Strange and frustrating.
This description very easily sums up the 2015 season for the White Sox, who slipped to a season-worst 28-36 with a 3-2 loss to the Pirates on Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field. In this particular instance, though, it was John Danks, Wednesday's starting and losing pitcher, talking about his team's surreal first-inning woes.
Within four batters, Pittsburgh (38-27) jumped to a 3-0 lead against the southpaw on Josh Harrison double, a Starling Marte sacrifice bunt, an Andrew McCutchen run-scoring single and Jung Ho Kang's first-pitch, opposite-field homer to right.
That output raised the White Sox first-inning deficit to 56-19. They sit at the bottom of first-inning runs allowed and scored, and are left to wonder where they might be if those numbers were reversed or even.
"I wish we had an answer for it," said Danks, who turned in a quality start with only those three earned runs allowed over seven innings. "We're not trying to dig a hole early, but that's the way it's been. It's certainly something we've talked about and are working on. We want our guys to feel comfortable, and having to battle back each day is tough."
"If they knew the answer, they wouldn't be giving up runs in the first inning," White Sox manager Robin Ventura, who was ejected in the fourth inning, said. "It is definitely concerning to be able to get through that first inning and not give up anything."
First-inning damage becomes more troublesome when considering the struggling White Sox offense. Their two runs scored in the sixth inning off Jeff Locke ended a stretch of 30 consecutive scoreless innings.
Enough pressure on this group already exists without putting a deficit in front of them before the game gets into full swing.
"We work hard every day to try to win games," said White Sox left fielder Melky Cabrera, through interpreter and White Sox Spanish language broadcaster Billy Russo, after a two-hit night. "It's not just a matter of one inning. We work hard every day to come here and win some games."
Cabrera classified this now season-worst six-game losing streak as "passing through a really tough stretch." He also believes the White Sox have enough games ahead "to try to figure it out and try to rebound."
Correcting that first-inning problem stands as a good place to start, before the White Sox get buried too deep to pull off any sort of turnaround.
"Right now, it's a tough moment for everybody," Cabrera said. "The offense is not right there where it's supposed to be. We have tried some things, we have been working so hard and the offense is just not happening right now."
"Certainly confident. We feel like we're going to win every game," said Danks of his team. "We have the guys to do it, but we're just not doing it. We're not playing consistent baseball and hopefully that will turn around tomorrow. But it's definitely frustrating. No one likes to lose."