After winning two of three against the Rangers despite topping out at three runs, the White Sox embarked on their last difficult road trip -- at least on paper -- until September. The nine-game, 10-day journey starts tonight with the first of three games in Minnesota, followed by four games in Detroit. After an off day, they wrap it up with two in St. Louis.
There has been no road romance for the Sox, who are 12-23 away from U.S. Cellular Field, including seven losses in their last eight road games. The most recent one -- which featured sweeps in St. Petersburg and Pittsburgh -- nullified the goodwill generated by winning all three home games against the Houston Astros, so it's not like squeaking out a couple of wins against Texas is incredible faith-building material. Not when Robin Ventura makes the offense sound like something in need of more fiber:
"We've got a ways to go," Ventura said. "We've had some guys on base and haven't knocked it in. A little bit breaks loose when Alexei hits the ball down the line and the guy scores, and Conor had a nice sac fly to move it around."
"The guys are pushing, but trying to force it often makes it worse," Ventura continued. "We just have to relax. Nobody's comfortable right now, but I feel confident that we're going to explode one of these days, and everybody will feel 20 pounds lighter after."
That said, let's give the White Sox a hand for playing well in front of two nice Father's Day weekend crowds. They beat the Rangers on Saturday in front of 25,738, and pulled off a Sunday encore in front of 33,668, some of which were Stanley Cup-seekers.
That's noteworthy, because entering the series, the Sox had lost their top five highest-drawing games, three of which were complete flops:
- May 23: Twins 4, White Sox 3 (38,714)
- April 10: Twins 6, White Sox 0 (38,533)
- May 24: Twins 8, White Sox 1 (30,180)
- June 7: Tigers 6, White Sox 4 (29,059)
- June 6: Tigers 7, White Sox 1 (28,368)
(The sixth-largest crowd? The second game of the doubleheader against Cincinnati on May 9, so I guess we can take credit for that one.
This has been a trend I've paid attention to, because it's something my dad points out. His theory: Marquee events like Opening Day and Paul Konerko Day draw a whole bunch of one-timers to 35th and Shields, and performances like Opening Day and Paul Konerko Day aren't going to make them want to sign up for more. I imagine the impact is more anecdotal that statistical, but it's always nice to be at the park and remember why you wanted to go in the first place.