Sox failing to get past break-even hump

Andre Rienzo gave up six runs in six innings as the Sox's slump continued. David Banks/Getty Images

CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox continue to crash into the .500 ceiling before stumbling back a few notches in a trend that has befuddled them all season.

There have been 21 times this season when the White Sox have ended a game with a .500 record, most recently Wednesday when they tagged the Detroit Tigers' Justin Verlander with a defeat.

The White Sox moved to 33-33 at the time, but have now lost four consecutive games, including Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the Royals that completed Kansas City’s three-game sweep.

“We ran into a team in the Royals that is pretty hot,” Gordon Beckham said. “But I think it’s not necessarily us not being able to get over the hump, it’s just the way the season has gone that we just haven’t really broken through when we could have. There is no real answer as to why we get to .500 and we dip back down. Hopefully we’ll grind back to .500.”

As they grind back to the break-even point this time it will be from the furthest point all season. The White Sox are four games under .500 for the first time this season at 33-37.

“Definitely a tell-tale sign of a good team is consistency,” said center fielder Adam Eaton, who has been better at setting the table from the lead-off spot of late. “You want to win five out of seven, five out of eight games and get over that (.500) speed bump. It’s been a little difficult. It seems like we win two out of three and then lose two out of three. Or we lose the next three and we’re two game sunder .500.”

In games the White Sox have played with a .500 record, they are twice as likely to lose. They are 7-14 on those occasions.

Until the White Sox can get all parts of their game in sync at the same time, their middling ways will probably continue. The offense has produced, the bullpen has established itself and the starting pitching has been there at times so important components have shown themselves.

Defense remains an issue, though. Only the Cleveland Indians have more errors in the American League than the White Sox’s 53 this season. Corner outfield with Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo has been a huge defensive liability.

“There are times it’s a challenge,” manager Robin Ventura said when asked about the corner outfielders specifically. “If you’re already at this point you’re talking about it and thinking about it. It’s there. We’re not hiding from it. It just needs to be better.”

The White Sox will cling to the fact that a full 3 ½ months remain in the season, although the sooner they can get all parts of their game rolling the better they can be.

“That’s the beauty of it, but we don’t want to sit on that too long,” Eaton said. “There is a lot of baseball to be played and everybody is bunched up (in the AL Central) but we don’t want to continue to sit on that and say that in September and then run out of time. Sooner or later we have to start pushing a little bit. We’re not freaking out by any stretch of the imagination, but we want to start playing some better baseball.”

And even if the White Sox do end up being a .500 team all season, their rebound from one that finished 36 games under is remarkable in itself. But nobody set .500 as a goal when the season started and nobody is going to be content with that mark now.

“It’s one of those things where we have to hang in there and keep playing and we’re not that far out of it so keep playing and try to get some wins and get back to where we’re in striking distance of going above .500,” Beckham said. “Once we get there, we have to keep playing. But we’ve played some good ball, we’ve played some bad ball and we’re middle-of-the-road, which I think is good because I think that means our hot streak is still ahead of us.”