White Sox keep nightly focus on game at hand

GM Hahn maintains hope despite up-and-down season

White Sox keep nightly focus on game at hand

CHICAGO -- With 53 games remaining, including Monday night's series opener against the Angels at U.S. Cellular Field, a mark of 35-18 (.660) would be needed to give the White Sox 86 victories and put them at the base level of American League Wild Card contention. That's hard to imagine for a team that has been over .500 just once all season, at 18-17 on May 18.

Even with the possibilities seeming remote, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn simply wants his team focused on the game at hand until the team runs out of games.

"Until there is an 'X' next to our name, we'll approach this like there is a shot. It doesn't really change how 25 guys in there, the coaching staff, goes about their business," said Hahn. "Their focus will remain on trying to win that night's ballgame.

"As for us in the front office, obviously we have to be cognizant of where we sit in the standings and how each loss makes that road to the playoffs a little more difficult to travel down. So we're aware of the situation, and we're aware of what potentially needs to be done in the coming weeks, but for me, in that clubhouse, the focus has to be on winning that night's ballgame."

A 7-1 road trip to Cleveland and Boston seemed to put the White Sox back in Wild Card contention, especially with the parity featured in the competition for the second spot. But a 2-7 dip since, including the Royals' three-game sweep over the weekend in Kansas City, with three one-run victories, has left the South Siders far removed from controlling their own playoff destiny.

Hahn expressed no remorse from not making a move in either direction at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Any moves coming during the August waiver period will have a continued focus on a player able to help the team now and in the future during this ongoing reshaping.

In the interim, the White Sox will search for that long stretch of success that has eluded them for most of this season.

"You have to win," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "As soon as you start looking at the schedule and the scoreboard, your focus starts to go toward stuff you really can't control. For us, play tonight. It's the Angels, we're playing the Angels tonight. Focus on that and try to win tonight's game."

"Obviously, the up-and-down nature has been frustrating," Hahn said. "The positive news is we do have a lot of schedule left and are playing a lot of the teams we are chasing, so we still have an opportunity here. It's important for us to shake off as quickly as we can these tough one-run losses and get going tonight."

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.