Offense stalls behind scuffling Samardzija
White Sox unable to build on early 3-run lead against Tigers
CHICAGO -- The 6-4 loss to the Tigers on Sunday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field served as a pretty fair representation for starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija and the struggling White Sox offense as a whole this season.
Samardzija was good for spurts but not good enough, as the Tigers rallied from a 4-1 deficit to claim the weekend series. The offense had its moments in the first two innings but simply disappeared over the next seven.
That equation over the long haul of two months has the White Sox sitting at 25-30 and looking more like a middle-of-the-pack group as opposed to a contender with each passing day.
"You have to keep working and keep the fight," White Sox DH Jose Abreu said through interpreter and Spanish-language broadcaster Billy Russo.
"Obviously, no one's happy. We've got to win those games," Samardzija said. "I put that on myself. Get four runs, you've got to take advantage of that and hold them to less than that and get the win. We're all pros here. We're going to come out and show up tomorrow and win a ballgame."
When the White Sox acquired Samardzija from Oakland in a six-player offseason deal, the ideal scenario was forming a 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation with Chris Sale. But for the fifth start this season, the right-hander allowed at least five runs.
His last two starts, against the Rangers and Tigers, have added up to 12 1/3 innings, 22 hits, 15 earned runs and four home runs allowed. Samardzija has given up 10 or more hits in back-to-back starts for the first time in his career. White Sox manager Robin Ventura would not place the blame, though, upon his starter.
"Again, today the offense needs to do more from the second inning on," Ventura said. "You know they got him, but we gave them some opportunities that didn't help him out either."
Geovany Soto had a one-out double in the fourth off of Alfredo Simon but was thrown out at third by Jose Iglesias, Detroit's defensive whiz at shortstop, on Carlos Sanchez's grounder. Adam Eaton opened the fifth with a double but was left there by Melky Cabrera, Abreu and Adam LaRoche.
Simon stands as a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter for Detroit, but the White Sox made him look like one of the game's best. Simon retired 12 straight after Eaton's double, and in the eighth inning, Simon needed just six pitches to get through Cabrera, Abreu and LaRoche again.
"It's inconsistent. You expect more out of it," Ventura said of the offense. "I know swinging at the last road trip, we had spurts that looked pretty good, and it just hasn't been consistent yet."
Even with 107 games remaining, the time and chances for finding that consistency seem to be dwindling for the White Sox.