Sox ride ups and downs, but stay in first

CHICAGO -- When the Chicago White Sox seemed unbeatable during the last weeks of May, winning 13 of 14 games, manager Robin Ventura enjoyed the good times, but he knew the bad could be on its way.

Now as the White Sox have struggled over the last two weeks, losing nine of their last 13 games, including a lopsided 12-3 defeat to the Chicago Cubs at U.S. Cellular Field on Monday, Ventura has received his team’s fate in the same fashion -- a loss may be here today, but it could very well be gone tomorrow.

“You know what? It happens,” Ventura said after Monday’s loss. “Teams go through little spurts like this. Again, you’re showing up every day doing it. It’s a long way to go. Sometimes, it just happens.”

The positive for the White Sox is while they’ve endured this rough streak they’ve still been able to remain atop the American League Central. The Cleveland Indians (1/2 back) and Detroit Tigers (2 ½) have gained ground on them, but the White Sox will still be in first place for a 21st consecutive day come Tuesday.

White Sox general manager Ken Williams viewed both sides of his team’s recent play when talking to the media before Monday’s game.

“We gave away some games over the last week, week and a half,” Williams said. “It’s unfortunate because it came at a time where we could have created some distance between ourselves and the clubs behind us. It kind of is what is and is part of the grind, and you’re going to have these stretches. That’s the bad news: we had an opportunity to stretch out our lead.

“The good news is we’ve been in every game, and we’ve been leading some of those games. So we’re still in position and still feel like we’re a good club who can continue grind it out and contend through the season.”

White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko had a similar thought prior to Monday’s game as well. Through 67 games, the White Sox have experienced ups and downs, but they’ve proven they have what it takes to compete for the AL Central.

“It’s nice we’re in it and we’re going to be in it,” Konerko said. “It’s still kind of early, starting to get to that midpoint. There’s going to be a lot of momentum shifts still as we go. There’s no answer. That many teams bunched up as you get into the season normally they’re going to be some teams who fall to the wayside. Hopefully, we’re not one of them.

“But as far as an answer on who’s going to win, it’s probably going to come all the way down to the last week for sure, if not the last day. You just got to mentally prepare for that. Don’t kill yourself every night if we don’t win, but at the same time you realize how important every game is too. It’s balancing those things out is the hard part.”