CHICAGO -- Chris Sale stepped up and took the blame following the White Sox loss to the Indians on Tuesday night in a rare non-quality start for the staff ace.
On Wednesday following Cleveland's 4-3 victory that completed a disappointing 3-7 homestand for the South Siders, it was Adam Eaton who put the onus of defeat on his shoulders following a rare ball he didn't get to in right that scored two runs. It's admirable for two of the team's featured players to accept responsibility, but in reality, there's plenty of blame to go around during the White Sox 4-11 run over the past 15 games.
"We just lost three," third baseman Todd Frazier said. "Nothing you can really say. Sometimes you make the plays, sometimes you don't. We're not putting up runs. That's the bottom line. When your pitchers are busting their tail, we have to find a way to stop the burning and get some runs."
"It has definitely been peaks and valleys, for sure," Eaton said. "Offensively, we definitely need to step it up. It has been five, six, seven games -- whatever -- where we haven't done it, myself included. The whole team top to bottom hasn't picked it up, but it's not for the lack of effort."
The White Sox finished 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday, stranding seven, leaving them at 6-for-52 with RISP over their last seven contests. A great deal of focus has been placed on Jimmy Rollins and his .231 average situated in the two-hole, and he did ground out in the third and fly out in the fifth with a runner on third and two outs.
But again, the lineup issues run deeper than simply one spot high in the order.
"You are not knocking in runs when you have guys on base," manager Robin Ventura said. "It seemed like we were getting opportunities in this homestand and not being able to get the easy ones. A guy on third and less than two outs, not being able to punch that one across and give yourself a better chance down the line.
"That's where you really need to take advantage. If you get the big hit, that's great. But you at least have to get those guys in."
After battling for a doubleheader split Monday, the White Sox looked primed for a series split at the worst with Sale and Jose Quintana on the mound. Of course, the Indians had no slouches in Josh Tomlin and Corey Kluber.
Instead, the White Sox fell to 1-6-1 in their last eight series and now have their smallest division lead at 1/2 game since April 24. Cleveland (25-20) is actually one up on the White Sox (27-21) in the loss column. Wednesday's standings don't matter to the White Sox as much as getting out of this small spiral.
"We've got to score more runs," Eaton said. "Pitching has been there and guys came out of the bullpen throwing really well, too. Hats off to those guys, but we've got to step it up."
Added catcher Dioner Navarro: "It's a long season, plenty of games left. We've just got to clean it up and keep playing hard."