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updated: 7/10/2011 7:24 PM

Struggling Sox could use the four days off

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  • White Sox starter Jake Peavy allowed 5 runs on 10 hits in Sunday's loss to the Twins at U.S. Cellular Field.

      White Sox starter Jake Peavy allowed 5 runs on 10 hits in Sunday's loss to the Twins at U.S. Cellular Field.
    Associated Press

 
 

Here's a question about the all-star break who needs it more, the White Sox or Sox fans?

Let's call it a draw.

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For as bad as the White Sox have been over the first half of the season -- Sunday's 6-3 loss to the Twins at U.S. Cellular Field was a perfect example -- they've been equally as tough to watch.

"We played very lousy," manager Ozzie Guillen said.

Guillen has been pretty consistent with his analysis before the break, but here is perhaps the only reason he still shows up for work: The AL Central is pretty lousy, too.

If the White Sox played in the AL East, they'd be 12 games out. If they played in the NL East, they'd be 13 out.

Fortunately, the Sox play in the AL Central and are only 5 games behind the Detroit Tigers. Of course, they're only 1 games ahead of fourth-place Minnesota after losing three of four to the Twins to close out the first half.

Maybe the White Sox figure something out over the break and come back with some new life Friday at Detroit.

"Mathematically, obviously we're still in it," said all-star first baseman Paul Konerko. "But we have to do a lot of things better. The way we've played up to this point, that's not going to win the division."

Outside of Konerko, no White Sox hitter was at all consistent during the first half. Some, namely Adam Dunn (.160) and Alex Rios (.213), were offensive in the worst way.

The Sox also have been fundamentally unsound since Opening Day, and they've had stretches of bad bullpen pitching, bad defense and bad baserunning.

Lately, the starting pitching has tailed off, outside of Mark Buehrle's sparkling 8-inning effort Saturday against the Twins.

Jake Peavy got the final start of the first half, and he fell apart in the fourth and fifth innings, allowing 5 runs on 6 hits. Back-to-back walks with two outs in the fourth were particularly painful and costly.

Peavy admitted he wasn't physically up to par Sunday, and again his workload has to be questioned. He came off the disabled list with a groin injury June 22 and was OK in 5⅓ innings against the Cubs.

But he came back three days later and threw 4 scoreless innings of relief against the Washington Nationals.

So in the span of four days the injury-prone pitcher threw 159 pitches.

In 3 starts since his relief outing, Peavy is 0-2 and has allowed 14 earned runs on 23 hits in 16⅓ innings.

"I need the break," he said. "I need to regroup, physically, and have better stuff than I've been running out there with. It's been a grind, these last 3 since the Colorado start.

"Physically, I don't have good stuff. To not be able to throw a slider and get a swing and miss, and not have life on the fastball, it's tough for me to do what I've always done."

Question is, can Peavy come back strong in the second half?

"I thought physically I'd be able to bounce back better than I have, and that's just the bottom line," he said. "No ifs, ands or buts about it. My body has not bounced back. It's not hard to see. I'm throwing 85-90 mph with my fastball.

"Breaking balls aren't sharp, can't even strike anybody out with it. It's certainly not characteristic, not what I've had in times past, even when I came back here. But I'm looking forward.

"I'm going to see my therapist that I had this winter in Alabama in these next few days and get my body to respond. I'm 100 percent positive I'm going to come in on the back end of this rotation to give me a week to 10 days off to try to regroup and get ready to start whatever.

"Every 5-6 days. I look forward to just getting a little bit of my feet under me. I never felt like I could do that these last 3 (starts)."

Another question, can the White Sox come back strong in the second half?

"We need to do everything better," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "Pitch, hit, defense, fundamentals, base running, get big hits we just need to do it all better.

"Hopefully these four days off will come at a good time and we can go to Detroit and start the second half on a good note."

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