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Positives remain during rebuild's first stumble

Sanchez's flashy defense brightens White Sox loss on Saturday
MLB.com @scottmerkin

DETROIT -- With no disrespect to the players who make up the 2017 White Sox, their 24-30 record following a 10-1 loss to the Tigers Saturday evening might even be better than expected by many at the 54-game mark.

Remember, the organization is undergoing a rebuild and executives such as general manager Rick Hahn and executive vice president Ken Williams have talked about taking some lumps in '17 as the process moves into full force. But with the team playing better than those outside of the clubhouse expected, this four-game losing streak and a 9-17 funk over the last 26 games stands as the first real stumble.

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DETROIT -- With no disrespect to the players who make up the 2017 White Sox, their 24-30 record following a 10-1 loss to the Tigers Saturday evening might even be better than expected by many at the 54-game mark.

Remember, the organization is undergoing a rebuild and executives such as general manager Rick Hahn and executive vice president Ken Williams have talked about taking some lumps in '17 as the process moves into full force. But with the team playing better than those outside of the clubhouse expected, this four-game losing streak and a 9-17 funk over the last 26 games stands as the first real stumble.

View Full Game Coverage

Detroit has outscored the White Sox, 25-6, in the first two games of this weekend series, after the White Sox took three of four from the Tigers last weekend in Chicago.

"In any season, you are going to pass through bad stretches like this one," said White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, through interpreter Billy Russo. "It's important to keep them short, and take advantage of the good ones. Right now we're just trying to figure out how to stop this moment, and start a better moment."

"We have to pick each other up," said White Sox starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez, who allowed six runs in six innings during Saturday's setback. "We gotta keep grinding. It's a long season. We can't put our heads down."

Derek Holland, who made a strong debut with the White Sox, was roughed up for eight runs over 2 1/3 innings Friday. He told Gonzalez to pick him up Saturday, but that plan didn't exactly work, with the right-hander yielding three home runs and four runs in the fourth after two were out and nobody was on base.

"Really tough to swallow, honestly. I felt good. Just really three pitches that got away," Gonzalez said. "Just need to stay focused every pitch, no matter what. Especially against this team. They are swinging it pretty good. It's a good offensive team."

There were a few standout moments in defeat for the White Sox, with second baseman Yolmer Sanchez saving at least two runs in the first via a diving catch of J.D. Martinez's two-out line drive up the middle. Martinez's smash had a hit probability of 73 percent per Statcast™.

Video: CWS@DET: Sanchez robs Martinez with a leaping catch

But those moments have not been quite as prevalent over the past few weeks. The White Sox are dealing with injuries, missing Zach Putnam, Nate Jones and Jake Petricka from their bullpen, and James Shields and Carlos Rodon from their rotation.

Injuries haven't slowed this team to date, only fostered a next-man-up sort of approach. That same approach is necessary at this point, but this time it's to stop a White Sox slide.

"Our mindset and approach for every game is the same. We have to stay united, and keep working hard," Abreu said. "That's the only way you can pass through these kind of moments."

"They're an even-keeled group. I'm an even-keeled person," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "Tomorrow's another day."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

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