PITTSBURGH -- A home sweep of the American League West-leading Astros moved the White Sox (28-35) within two games of .500 last Wednesday, but they followed that series with their third winless road trip of the season, dropping five straight games to hit a season-low seven games under.
While there are several factors in the White Sox struggles, this swoon can be directly tied to an offense that has been absent for most of the season, as it was in a 3-0 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park on Tuesday night.
"These guys have to fight their way out of it. They have to keep grinding and somehow find that groove. Again, we just have to swing the bats better, that's for sure," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "If you are going to keep putting up zeros, it's tough to win games.
"We have to be able to swing the bats better. You tip your hats somewhat, but some of it is a funk we are in. We have to be able to find a way out of it. We have to score some runs to be able to win games. You throw up a couple of donuts in two games here, you are not going to win."
Quality starts from Chris Sale and Jose Quintana on Sunday and Tuesday, respectively, were squandered. Sale made one mistake and lost despite 12 strikeouts, while Quintana yielded solo homers to Sean Rodriguez and Francisco Cervelli and also took a loss.
"Sometimes you have bad nights and bad days," said Quintana, who allowed three runs over six innings. "But everybody tries to do the best for the team."
"They have been through this," said Ventura of his starters. "No guy likes to go through it. And the guys swinging the bat don't want this to happen for them, either. It's tough. You have to be able to grind through and show some backbone to get through it."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.