During the current skid, the White Sox could take some solace in the fact that they've faced some terrific pitchers. Dan Haren, Jered Weaver, Justin Verlander, David Price -- those guys could be the top four pitchers on the American League All-Star team in a few months.
But after Brad Penny, who entered the game with an 8.44 ERA (20 runs over 21 1/3 innings), held them to one hit over seven innings ... and that hit probably should have been ruled an error ... there's just not much else to say.
Penny probably should have carried a no-hit bid into the late innings, but Brent Morel reached on an infield "single" in the sixth. He hit a firm chopper towards third base, and Brandon Inge gloved it on the backhand. He had enough time to plant and make a strong throw, but he didn't get enough air under it, and Miguel Cabrera couldn't handle the short hop. It's curious that the home scorer wouldn't have allowed Penny to keep his bid alive.
Then again, the home scorer played a role in the inning that buried the Sox. Edwin Jackson missed on his spots all day, and it started catching up with him in the fourth inning. Brennan Boesch started with a double. He moved to third on a wild pitch -- Jackson continued to miss high and right -- and Ryan Raburn shot a single through the drawn-in infield for the game's first run.
(That's how sad it is -- it's the fourth inning, and Ozzie Guillen feels compelled to bring the infielders in with a runner on third. The game proved him correct.)
But things really started unraveling afterward, thanks to more problematic outfield defense. Juan Pierre couldn't handle a sinking liner off the bat of Jhonny Peralta, making an awkward dive attempt after he pulled up, and the scorer called it an error. The next batter, Alex Avila, hit a drive to deep center. Alex Rios started jogging straight back, then ran straight back, reached the warning track, and then realized the ball was 20 feet to his right. Needless to say, he didn't make the grab, and Avila tripled to make it 3-0.
Inge singled to extend the lead to four. Austin Jackson dropped a bunt single, and Will Rhymes bunted them both over for the first out of inning -- seven batters in. Inge scored with a nifty slide on a grounder to short - Alexei Ramirez's throw was just a little bit on the wrong side of the plate, and gave Inge a window to make it around A.J. Pierzynski's tag. It took a Miguel Cabrera double play to end the nightmare inning.
The Sox offense endured nightmare innings each time they came to the plate. For the first five innings, the lone highlight was a Carlos Quentin HBP. Otherwise, it was just a parade of weak outs and frustrated bat flips.
Only when Jim Leyland called in the Detroit bullpen did the offense show signs of life -- not that it resulted in any runs. The Brents, Lillibridge and Morel, greeted Ryan Perry with two singles to start the eighth. They went no further.
At least Morel had a two-hit game, to kinda-sorta snap out of his slump. But even he couldn't escape the day unscathed, because after the Sox loaded the bases in the ninth with two outs against the wonderfully named Al Albuquerque, Morel struck out looking.