KANSAS CITY -- An 0-2 start at Kauffman Stadium was not part of the plan for the revamped 2015 White Sox. Not after general manager Rick Hahn made the plethora of offseason moves to seemingly put the White Sox in American League Central contention.
A couple of pundits even had the White Sox in the World Series as part of their preseason prognostications. But panic was not a word in the White Sox postgame vocabulary Wednesday night following a 7-5 loss to the Royals courtesy of Lorenzo Cain's two-run homer in the eighth.
Disappointment? Certainly. Frustration? Maybe a little. Optimism? Yes, it's still there in plenty after just two games removed from a 162-game season.
"We'll be fine. We are running into a hot team that has been hot since November," said White Sox designated hitter Adam LaRoche, who picked up his first hit as part of the White Sox with a second-inning double. "Some tough games. You are not going to get away with much. You give them extra runs here and there and they will make you pay for it."
"That's not ideal," said White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers, whose three-run homer off of Danny Duffy in the second gave them a brief 3-1 lead. "You don't want to start that way, but with that said, a lot of good things are starting to happen. They kind of have everything clicking on their side right now. We are getting it going, but we are just not playing complete games at this point."
To the White Sox credit, they fought back throughout the night against the reigning American League champs. First via Flowers' towering drive, then on Gordon Beckham's run-scoring single in the fourth, bringing in Avisail Garcia, who had three hits, and finally on Alexei Ramirez's sacrifice fly in the sixth to score Jose Abreu.
Beckham, Flowers and Carlos Sanchez combined for five hits from the bottom three spots of the lineup, Abreu made three slick plays at first base and the pitching staff combined to strand 10. Kansas City had at least two men on base in every inning but the second. So, yes, definite good signs, but too many near-misses to go with them.
Jose Quintana, who picked up his 40th career no-decision, lamented a 1-1 fastball to Eric Hosmer in the third that resulted in a go-ahead three-run homer. Zach Putnam's first-pitch cutter to Cain caught too much of the plate, and Cain didn't miss.
"I missed my spot both up and over the plate," Putnam said. "A three-hitter in any big league lineup, that's not a good place to be."
Losing two games against a super-charged team does not change the White Sox season outlook. But with 25 of the first 28 games coming within the division, the White Sox don't want to be continuously talking about pyrrhic victories as opposed to the real thing.
"There's some good things, but when you lose, it's hard to focus on that for me," LaRoche said. "I'll leave that up to the coaching staff to analyze that stuff."
"Everybody is kind of starting to get into a rhythm right now. We'll focus on tomorrow and beyond," Putnam said. "I don't think anybody is losing sleep over the fact that we're 0-2."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.