Five's the limit for White Sox

David Banks - Getty Images

It's been two weeks since the White Sox were able to score runs in bunches, and the meager output puts them on the brink of elimination.

Home cooking usually cures what ails the White Sox offense, but the kitchen closed early this year. After dropping three of four to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Sox closed up U.S. Cellular Field with a 2-5 homestand, lowering the tragic number to 1.

The struggles extend beyond the past week. The Sox are now 2-10 over their last 12 games, and it's remarkable how little blame can be placed on the pitching. In eight of those games, the White Sox staff allowed four runs or fewer. They gave up six in three other games, which leaves Saturday's blowout as the only game the pitching truly let get away.

That kind of run prevention should be good for a 7-7 record, give or take a game. Alas, when the entire lineup slumps, it's too big a burden for a non-elite pitching staff to carry. And it's hard to overstate how much the offense has dragged the Sox down, because they're matching record droughts for the New Comiskey Era.

Since they could only scrape together two paltry runs against David Price and the Rays on Sunday, the Sox have now scored fewer than six runs in 14 consecutive games. You don't have to go too far back to find the last time the Sox couldn't score more than five runs over two weeks' worth of games. They achieved(?) the same feat in the second half of July in 2009. Hey, those Sox were at least able to eke out six wins, as opposed to the current team's 4-10 record over this skid.

However, if this streak continues through tonight's game, then it's a lot harder to find contemporaries. The last teams to go 15 games or longer without busting out played on the other side of 35th and Shields.

The Sox are in no danger of challenging the all-time franchise record (37, during the hitter hell that was 1968), but here are the teams that are waiting to welcome the 2012 Sox to their level.

Strk Start End Games W L R 2B 3B HR BA OBP SLG
1988-06-08 1988-06-24 15 7 8 43 23 2 9 .257 .301 .364
1980-09-08 1980-09-24 15 5 10 44 27 1 6 .266 .317 .359
1967-05-26 1967-06-09 15 6 9 40 14 2 8 .226 .291 .310
1959-07-16 1959-07-30 15 10 4 45 18 3 4 .235 .322 .309
1958-08-24 1958-09-09 15 7 8 46 26 2 5 .231 .292 .322
1947-09-17 1948-04-25 15 4 11 39 16 5 5 .238 .310 .321
1946-05-09 1946-05-26 15 5 10 39 20 5 7 .231 .287 .336
1940-08-20 1940-09-02 15 6 9 39 15 5 1 .237 .300 .291
2009-07-18 2009-07-30 14 6 8 44 15 1 16 .227 .289 .371
1990-08-06 1990-08-19 14 6 8 50 23 7 6 .232 .291 .351
1980-08-01 1980-08-18 14 3 11 39 18 4 6 .232 .272 .329
1968-05-28 1968-06-10 14 7 7 30 15 2 7 .181 .244 .267
1965-06-09 1965-06-23 14 8 6 38 15 5 10 .221 .281 .341
1935-08-04 1935-08-17 14 2 12 28 26 3 2 .238 .290 .316
2012-09-17 2012-09-30 14 4 10 39 15 1 12 .229 .306 .348


Them's a lot of bad offenses, so let's focus on the strongest team of the bunch.

1990 is a pretty interesting parallel to the 2012 season, in that both teams made surprising runs at the division title before the lineup lost power. Over the duration of the slide in 1990, the Sox fell from 2½ games to 6½ games behind the Oakland A's, and the Bash Brothers were never within reach again.

Their stories have a few differences, and they hurt. In this case, the lack of punch really walloped the Sox. They now trail by three games after leading by the same margin a fortnight ago (the 1990 Sox never had sole possession of first place of the AL West).

Stepping back to assess the ramifications, the 1990 Sox had more room for moral victories. They won just 69 games the previous season, and four first-round draft picks -- Robin Ventura, Frank Thomas, Jack McDowell and Alex Fernandez -- began to form a nucleus that could contend for seasons, which aligned perfectly with the opening of a brand new ballpark.

This year's Sox, while an improved product, made much smaller strides. And while Chris Sale exceeded everybody's expectations, one guy does not a young core make, so the direction of the franchise is unclear.

But we'll have plenty time to talk about the ways the White Sox can proceed in the winter. First, let's see if the Sox can end this streak before the calendar does it for them.

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