White Sox hoping to weather 'brutal' stretch

Club back at .500 with 6-19 record over last 25 games after starting season 23-10

White Sox hoping to weather 'brutal' stretch

CHICAGO -- Baseball can be brutal.

Those were the words coming from Adam Eaton after the White Sox dropped a 10-5 decision to the Nationals on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field. It was the South Siders' fourth straight loss and pushed them to 2-11 in their last 13 games and 6-19 over their last 25.

It was May 9 when the team stood at 23-10 and had a six-game lead in the American League Central. Almost one month later, the White Sox are a fourth-place squad sitting at .500.

Brutal, indeed.

"We're on the wrong side of things, and it seems like we've been on it for the last couple weeks," said Eaton, who scored two runs. "We can't just dwell on it. We have to be big boys. Nobody is going to help us. We have to do it ourselves. Put a good foot forward and get going."

The problem for the White Sox is that they've fallen, and despite the addition of James Shields, who makes his debut Wednesday night, there doesn't look to be much in the way of help to get them back up again.

Prior to Tuesday's ugly setback, general manager Rick Hahn announced that Carlos Rodon's next start Thursday would be skipped due to neck soreness that was checked Monday and didn't seem to be serious. Miguel Gonzalez takes Rodon's spot, meaning Mat Latos continues on as part of the White Sox rotation at least in the short term.

Latos had another rough outing Tuesday, giving up six runs on five hits over 4 1/3 innings. He also walked four, helping to quickly turn a 5-2 lead into a 6-5 deficit.

His first four starts of '16 were all victories, in which the right-hander allowed just two earned runs over 24 1/3 innings. In his last seven starts, covering 36 innings, Latos has yielded 29 earned runs on 50 hits and 18 walks, while striking out 19.

Those individual numbers don't matter to Latos as much as letting the team down as he struggles to find more consistent mechanics.

"I couldn't care less about my ERA, strikeouts, you know, my own personal wins," Latos said. "The team gives you a lead like they did today, and to just flat-out blow it is absolutely pathetic. There's nothing I can do about it now. Just get better and make up for it."

"Maty knows he's got to do better, he knows that," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "You can't go out there and just give them those free passes."

Ventura said postgame that Zach Putnam has been dealing with right elbow soreness and has been unavailable the last few days, including Tuesday. It reduced the options for a bullpen with a 5.19 ERA over its last 24 games.

Yes, baseball can be brutal. But it also can get worse for the White Sox as they have learned over the past 25 days.

"That's something you have to weather," Ventura said. "You just have to get tired about it."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.