Through all of the countless downs provided by the offense this season, Paul Konerko has been the one hitter White Sox fans have been able to look up to.
When Adam Dunn was striking out four times in a game, Konerko was going 3-for-4.
When Alex Rios was popping out on the first pitch, Konerko was popping another ball over the fence.
When Brent Morel and Gordon Beckham were showing swings in obvious need of more minor-league seasoning, Konerko was driving a run-scoring double to the opposite field.
It's been all Konerko all the time for the Sox this season, but even the captain hit the wall during Wednesday afternoon's 4-1 loss to the Royals at U.S. Cellular Field.
"I didn't get the job done twice today," Konerko said after a lack of offense stuck the White Sox with their second straight loss to last-place Kansas City. "Sometimes you just tip your hat and move on, that's all you can do."
Well, you can cry, but that's not allowed in baseball.
So tip the cap to Royals starter Bruce Chen, the same starting pitcher Sox manager Ozzie Guillen talked about pregame.
"Have you seen Bruce Chen pitch?" Guillen said. "Bleep. I might get a bleeping at-bat."
To a point, Guillen was joking.
"Bruce Chen's my boy," he said. "I was with him in Atlanta and I love this kid."
Still, Chen came into Wednesday's game with a career 52-52 record and 4.57 ERA. And the Royals are his 10th team.
But in the end, Chen joined rotation mate Felipe Paulino and Cubs right-hander Rodrigo Lopez as the third journeyman to shut down the White Sox' offense since Sunday.
No wonder irritated followers are again calling for hitting coach Greg Walker's termination.
If that does happen -- and there are no indications at all general manager Kenny Williams is preparing to make a move -- then what?
A day after going 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position, the Sox were 1-for-5 Wednesday.
Konerko was the fall guy this time around, grounding into a double play with runners on first and third and one out in the fourth inning and striking out on three pitches with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth.
Plain and simple, White Sox hitters don't appear to have a clue what they're doing at the plate lately, especially with runners on base.
We'll turn this one over to Konerko, who explains the intricacies of the game better than most.
"There is no perfect answer," Konerko said. "You can't try to cover the whole plate, so whether the guy is throwing a fastball in or slider out, whatever it might be, just stay dedicated to that plan throughout the at-bat. A lot of times as hitters, we get 0-2 and stray from the original plan.
"The best thing you can do is try to be dangerous on a pitch in an area and stick with it. If they throw the other one and hit their spots, you're going to sit down. But if they throw the pitch you're looking for, you should be dangerous if you're dedicated to it.
"Right now we're trying to force everything and cover every pitch -- change-ups away, fastballs in -- and that's what you get."