As the White Sox move closer to the season's halfway point, it's looking more and more like it's just not going to happen this year.
It's looking more and more like the bats will never get going for a long enough stretch to pull the Sox out of the AL Central basement and into contention with the first-place Detroit Tigers.
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Scouting reportWhite Sox vs. Minnesota Twins at Target Field
TV: WCIU Tuesday and Wednesday; Comcast SportsNet Thursday
Radio: WSCR 670-AM
Pitching matchups: The White Sox' Dylan Axelrod (3-4) vs. Mike Pelfrey (3-6) Tuesday at 7:10 p.m.; Chris Sale (5-5) vs. Kevin Correia (5-4) Wednesday at 7:10 p.m.; John Danks (1-3) vs. Scott Diamond (4-6) Thursday at 12:10 p.m.
At a glance: As usual, the White Sox had trouble generating offense during a forgettable four-game series at Houston to start their road trip. Pelfrey has a 6.12 ERA and hasn't won since May 5, so the Sox just might be able to score some runs in the first of three at Minnesota. Axelrod should be well rested. The right-hander last started on June 10 and is 0-1 with a 4.41 ERA in his last 3 outings. The White Sox are 2-3 vs. the Twins this season (2-1 at Target Field). Sale has lost his last 3 decisions despite allowing 5 earned runs on 14 hits in 211⁄3 innings. Sale also has struck out 25 over the hard-luck stretch.
Next: Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium, Friday-Sunday
-- Scot Gregor
Yes, the White Sox finally woke up a bit Monday night and beat the lowly Houston Astros 4-2 to avoid an embarrassing four-game sweep. But a little compare and contrast shows you how much they've been overmatched.
Reigning American League MVP Miguel Cabrera hit his 19th home run of the season in the Tigers' 5-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night. More impressive, Cabrera boosted his RBI total to 71. Teammate Prince Fielder has driven in 54 runs.
As the Sox linger in the division cellar and the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline starts coming into view, the rumor mill is heating up once again.
But who has value?
Jake Peavy has been on the disabled list with a fractured left rib since June 5 and has yet to be cleared for any physical activity.
It appears Peavy (6-4, 4.30 ERA) won't be ready to return to the mound for at least another month, so his trade value is not exactly high.
"I do feel a whole lot better moving around," Peavy told reporters in Houston on Monday. "They still won't let me do anything. I asked yesterday if I could ride the bike or stretch, and still they said the two-week period to let the process start before we do anything.
"I guess the biggest thing is any kind of heavy breathing in my diaphragm, expanding, we're trying to stay away from that. My life has been pretty easy as far as physical activity goes these past few weeks. It's been as uneasy as can be when the team is going the way it's going and you can't be a factor."
Veteran relief pitcher Jesse Crain has been the White Sox' best player this season, and he has the most value. Crain pitched 12⁄3 perfect innings Monday and has 27 straight scoreless appearances, tying him with J.J. Putz for the franchise record.
After that, general manager Rick Hahn also could try to move reliever Matt Thornton, right fielder Rios, center fielder Alejandro De Aza and possibly Dunn and first baseman/DH Paul Konerko if he decides the time is right to go in a different direction.
Until a decision is officially announced, the Sox can do little more than keep showing up and hoping the season takes a positive turn.
"The way it's gone a lot this year, it's been one of those where it gets to the point where you think you hit rock bottom and there was more to go in some cases," Konerko said before the White Sox headed to Houston. "Sometimes that can kind of bring a team together, not knowing if you're going to win any more games or do any better.
"But there have been moments where it's been so bad that I think guys, it just reinforces how to do it right and to pick up your teammates, because sometimes that's all you've got."