CLEVELAND -- Beat down and demoralized, the Chicago White Sox need to find a way to pick themselves up off the ground and dust themselves off.
On Thursday against the Cleveland Indians, the White Sox's best pitcher couldn't even stop the bleeding as Chris Sale struggled through one of his worst outings of the season. The White Sox's 6-1 defeat capped an Indians four-game sweep and was their seventh consecutive loss, 10th in their last 11 games and 13th in their last 16.
Sale matched a season high by giving up 10 hits, and the five runs he allowed were the most since he gave up eight at Cleveland on April 13. Clearly, the Indians have his number.
“I’m not going to sit here and make excuses,” Sale said. “I got my (tail) kicked. I wouldn’t say that was my best stuff I featured but you’ve still got to go out there and find a way and unfortunately I couldn’t.”
The conditions weren’t his friend either as Ryan Raburn hit an improbable third-inning home run that appeared to be no more than a high fly ball before it was pushed by a strong breeze over the right-field wall. It was the first of Raburn's two home runs on the day as he added one against reliever Dylan Axelrod.
That’s how things have gone for Sale against the Indians, a team that has scored 16 runs against him in three starts.
“Right now, they’re swinging it,” manager Robin Ventura said. “Chris probably wasn’t as sharp as he may have looked early, but there were squaring it up pretty good. It was just one of those where they can swing it and they got to him today.”
If anybody has a reason to be demoralized it’s Sale. The All-Star not only lost his rotation wing man this week when Jake Peavy was traded to the Boston Red Sox, he continues to get little to no run support from the White Sox’s offense.
Already with a major-league worst 2.50 runs of support per game this season, the White Sox proceeded to deliver just one run Thursday when Alejandro De Aza hit a sixth-inning home run. The next closest pitcher to Sale in all of baseball on the run-support list is getting a half run more than he is.
If it looked like Sale was going through some abandonment issues Thursday it’s only because he was.
“It is what it is and you don’t put too much emphasis on it,” Sale said. “You’ve still got to go out there and do your job. Just like there are days where you go out there and give up a bunch of runs, those guys are still fighting for their at-bats and their hits so I don’t think anybody is giving in. You’ve got to keep your head up and keep grinding it out.”
In the past, Sale has been able to overcome days like Thursday, but it wasn’t going to happen with the current state of the White Sox. It was just the fourth time in Sale’s career he has given up at least 10 hits in an outing, but he won those other three occurrences.
“I don’t know what the future really holds but winning is a whole hell of a lot more fun than losing is so we might as well win as many games as we can regardless of where it takes us or what happens with it,” Sale said. “Just take some pride in what we do, try to win some games and hopefully we’ll turn things around.”
The passing of the non-waiver trade deadline was supposed to bring some relief, but for now there seems to be some mourning going on, especially with the pitching staff.
“It’s tough losing teammates, losing your buddies, losing your brothers,” Sale said. “Like I’ve said before, this is kind of like a family for us. We spend more time in here than do with our families. These guys are like brothers, everyone in here, and seeing some guys you’ve seen around here for a while and some leaders step out of here is tough but I’m not here to make excuses. We still have a job to do. We still have got to go out and win games and it’s a tough break.”