CHICAGO -- As the Chicago White Sox continue to put in the same lackluster effort, it’s hard to deny this time of the year hasn’t been taking its toll.
It isn’t as though the White Sox are victims of circumstance. Far from it. They have nobody but themselves to blame for a miserable season that has management looking to sell off veterans for potential future stars.
But as the trade deadline looms in a week, the White Sox seem to have added distracted to their list of faults. It clearly looked that way Wednesday in a 6-2 defeat to the Detroit Tigers that leaves the Sox a loss away from being swept in the four-game series.
No, John Danks wasn’t wondering if he might be playing elsewhere when he grooved a first-inning fastball to Prince Fielder, leading to a three-run home run. And on an 0-for-5 night, Alex Rios wasn’t wondering in which part of Dallas he might reside if the Texas Rangers acquire him in the coming days.
Collectively, the White Sox don’t seem to have the energy to create their own breaks and take advantage of any moment of weakness from an opponent.
“Yeah, there are a lot of things floating out there that make it more difficult for guys to just play baseball because, subconsciously, it’s in there whether you like to think so or not,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said after the game. “It’s there. Everything’s floating out there. I’ll be glad when it turns August.”
Ventura also recognized Danks’ rough outing, the inability to turn a key early double play and the fact the White Sox haven’t taken advantage of a Tigers team without Miguel Cabrera for the past two nights.
And the Tigers are certainly good enough to sweep the White Sox in a four-game series, even if the trade deadline wasn’t looming.
But right now, the White Sox -- with Jake Peavy potentially headed to the St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox or Atlanta Braves; Rios in the crosshairs of the Rangers; and a myriad of other trade possibilities -- are a struggling bunch without much of a will to dig deep and fight.
Wishing it was August already won’t help, either. Ventura doesn’t want his players to hope that the trade season was over, but it’s clear that not too many people are having fun right now.
When August does get here, the White Sox will likely play much more freely since they will have dumped their baggage.
“It’s like the elephant in the room is going to be gone and you can play,” Ventura said. “Those rumors go away once you get into August. Having been through it as a player, it’s the same thing. Your name comes up; you can’t help it. We’ll be better off in a week.”
What the roster will look like then is a different story. But the way it has looked this week, there will be a better frame of mind on the White Sox clubhouse once July 31 has passed.