Season of inconsistency perplexes White Sox

On the fringe of contention, club unable to sustain success

Season of inconsistency perplexes White Sox

CHICAGO -- The White Sox began a seven-game homestand against the Red Sox and Mariners on Monday night, and executive vice president Ken Williams could see his team ripping off six or seven wins in a row.

"At the same time, it's not going to surprise me if we go out and we play a lot less than the standards we want to play," Williams said before his club's 5-4 loss to Boston. "It's something that is going to require more in-depth thought and discussion than we've ever had, at least since I've been here.

"I've not watched a team I've had this long and still not been able to figure it out. Generally, in June, I can figure out what our identity is and can look at a schedule and say, 'We should win this game, we're going to have a tougher time with this one.' I don't know with this club that I'm able to do that. This club is a little more difficult to evaluate.

"We're going to get together and continue to discuss it," Williams said. "But this is a perplexing situation."

Perplexing, as in a team that wins seven in a row on the road against the Indians and Red Sox, only to lose eight of their next 10. A home sweep of the Angels followed, but the White Sox then lost five of their next six.

The White Sox have played 68 games this season decided by two runs or fewer, with a 33-35 record in those games. This team has been just good enough to hang on the outskirts for the second American League Wild Card.

"There will be periods where we pitch well, but we don't quite hit well. There will be periods where we hit well, don't quite pitch as well or our defense and that's the part people look at and it hasn't been on a sustained run to be able to understand this group," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "The effort and everything else, that part hasn't wavered or changed."

Worth noting

Zach Putnam tweaked his right groin while warming up Saturday night in Seattle. The right-hander was unavailable the past three games.

"He had some soreness the other day in his legs," said Ventura. "We're going to check it out today and make sure everything's all right. We need to stay away from him a little bit. We don't think it's anything serious."

Putnam has a 2.93 ERA over 40 games, with 54 strikeouts and a .209 average against in 40 innings.

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.