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Stage is set for changes

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In a way, it's almost good that the White Sox offense failed to help John Danks and the bullpen during Wednesday's 11-inning, 2-1 loss.

Had Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain been able to preserve the shutout, the story would've been Danks' triumphant return, a second straight series win inside the division, both of which are great.

But it would have overshadowed the critically flawed offense, which scored just eight runs over three games against Kansas City pitching -- and only five runs by their own doing (two runs scored after an Alcides Escobar error, and another after a blown call).

They faced the staff with the second-worst ERA in the American League. They faced three different pitchers -- a hard-throwing lefty, a soft-tossing lefty, and a historically awful right-hander. They managed just four hits and one cheap run off the Royals bullpen over 8 2/3 innings. Plainly put, the offense didn't experience any real kind of success against any one member of the second-worst pitching staff in baseball.

This would've been a problem even if they won 1-0, and thanks to the frustrating nature of the loss, Ozzie Guillen made everybody aware of it.


Now the question is whether anybody is going to back up the talk.

It's well past the time for action, because this has been the team's biggest problem all year. With their "effort" on Thursday, the White Sox are now averaging under four runs per game (3.98), including a cool 3.44 runs per game in July. Nobody can pin this one on the weather.

On Tuesday evening, Guillen offered the weakest support for Adam Dunn this season, which I called a figurative cry for help. On Wednesday, Jeff Passan shared a literal one, telling us that calling it quits has crossed Dunn's mind.

Then, following Wednesday's game, Guillen says:

"That’s the team we have all year long. … I talk (trash) because what I see. That’s all I see. Very bad. Nothing against Chen. Nothing against the Kansas City pitching staff. They’re good. They got a young ballclub. The way we go about our business here, horse(bleep). They can say whatever they want to say."

This would seem to signify that this off day could be an eventful one. Then again, when Guillen doesn't refer to anybody by name in his rants, it usually results in minor changes at most.

And if A.J. Pierzynski's attitude is reflective of the clubhouse's perspective:

"I thought we played well, we just didn’t get any hits," said Pierzynski, who was 0-for-4 and grounded into his 17th double play. "Chen pitched pretty well, and their bullpen has been strong for them all year.

"We didn’t have a whole lot of chances, hit into some double plays and scored one run. When you get five hits in 11 innings, it’s going to look that way."

... I would place my money on more of the same.