The White Sox continued their steady slide out of relevance and into fire-sale territory with their eighth straight loss on Tuesday. It's been hard to tell them apart given the lack of offense, but watching Jake Peavy pitch with a bad rib is what qualifies as "mixing it up," so boring may actually be preferable.
Eight-game losing streaks aren't as novel as a White Sox fan might hope. Their last one took place in 2010, although under different circumstances. They entered a series in September against Minnesota needing to sweep to have a chance of staying in the race. When they lost the first game, they seemed to lose interest in the season, which is understandable, albeit a smidge unprofessional.
Nine-game streaks are far more uncommon. The last such skid took place in 1991, and it definitely dashed some dreams.
On Aug. 11, 1991, Wilson Alvarez threw his no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles. The 7-0 victory was the seventh straight for the Sox, boosting their record to 65-45 and putting them just one game back of the Twins. Like Mark Buehrle's perfect game in 2009 -- or everything that's happened to Phil Humber over the last year -- doom lurked in history's wake.
Jeff Torborg's crew lost 12 of their next 13 -- three straight losses, a win, then the aforementioned nine-gamer. By the time they won again, they were 8½ games out, and irrelevant the rest of the way.
If you're a paradoxical pessimist who seeks silver lining, at least the Sox we're watching right now have fallen from lesser heights. They just managed to reach .500 before taking this tumble, and given that they'd averaged the fewest runs in victorious efforts of any AL team, you could see some smoke and mirrors in their success.
When I usually put together these history charts, they're usually useless by the next day. So let's see if this helps Dylan Axelrod this afternoon.
LAST WHITE SOX TEAM TO LOSE ...
- 10 games: 1976; were 27-22
- 11 games: 1956; were 43-27
- 12 games: 1927; were 65-68
- 13 games: 1924; were 51-54
This current free-fall is driven by two other noteworthy voids, which makes it like a Russian nesting doll, except even less fun.
Adam Dunn's second-inning solo shot was the White Sox's first home run since Dunn's two-run blast in the first inning against Miami on May 26. That's a streak of 72 homerless innings, which is pretty incredible -- and incredibly harmful -- for a team that relies on the long ball.
These Sox were only the second group of South Siders to go without a home run for six straight games. Fortunately, Dunn's homer prevents them from matching the 2010 Sox, who went without a homer over eight games from June 12 to June 20. Somehow, that team went 7-1.
Plus, those 2010 Sox hit eight homers over three games before the brownout. This time, there's no such binge before or after evening things out. In fact, Dunn's two homers are the only ones hit by the entire team since May 24.
(Dunn has hit seven of the team's last 14 homers dating back to May 11, which is the kind of development that can keep the Sox playing him far longer than advisable.)
And if you're wondering about multi-homer games, the Sox haven't done it since May 17. The last time the Sox went 16 games without multiple homers was 2002 (they went 4-12; these Sox are 5-11). From here on out, every team ahead of them on the list is of a vintage 1992 or older.
Innings without a lead
Jeff Keppinger drove in Dayan Viciedo in the second inning on Monday to score the game's first run, which marked the first time the Sox had held a lead in 56 innings. But in the bottom of the second, John Danks gave it right back (with an assist by Tyler Flowers).
On Tuesday, Conor Gillaspie bounced Alejandro De Aza home for a quick 1-0 lead, only to see an injured Jake Peavy give it right back (with an assist from Jordan Danks) and then some in the bottom of the first.
These games might put the official "never-led" streak to rest, but that seems cheap -- especially in cases like Tuesday, when the other team hasn't gotten a chance to hit. So if your streak requires the Sox to maintain the scoring advantage after both teams have received equal offensive opportunities, then guess what -- they haven't held a lead in 73 innings.
I can't put this one in context because of the fuzziness of the terms, but it's been the most effective way to describe just how flat this team has been.