ANAHEIM, Calif. - Not exactly the road trip the Chicago White Sox had in mind after they beat the Detroit Tigers on Sept. 17 and seemingly took control of the AL Central.
They won the first game in Kansas City, and have since lost five straight, with a 4-1 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim the final blow on Sunday.
The good news for the Sox is they are still atop the division by one game after the Tigers were swept by the Minnesota Twins in a doubleheader Sunday. The bad news? Very little seems to be going right for Chicago at this point, and the Sox still have a playoff-caliber team, the Tampa Bay Rays, coming in for a four-game series later in the week after they host the Cleveland Indians.
They failed to get any offense going against the Angels, this time going 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. That leaves them 25-for-145 (.172) with runners in scoring position in their last 17 games.
According to the players, there is no panic. The way they are playing, however, that's hard to believe at this point.
"You start panicking and you get out of your comfort zone," said starting pitcher Chris Sale, who takes the mound Monday at U.S. Cellular Field against the Indians. "That's what we don't want to do. Just be prepared."
Gavin Floyd took the loss in the series finale, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings. He fanned eight and walked one, with all the damage occurring in the sixth inning.
"It is coming at a bad time for us," outfielder Dewayne Wise said of the slump, "but we are still at the top with (10) to go. We just got to go out there and not worry about Detroit. Just go out there and relax and play baseball. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen."
Wise is no stranger to close finishes, playing for the 2008 White Sox team that needed Game No. 163 against the Twins to win the division and go to the postseason.
"You get in there however you can," Wise said. "Every team's record is the same (when the playoffs begin). You just got to go out there and play. You never know what could happen once you get in there."