As captain Paul Konerko was saying Saturday, the White Sox are not a bad team this season, but they're not in the conversation with the really good ones either.
On Sunday, the Sox showed why, on both sides.
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Falling behind the Astros 4-0 and 7-3, the White Sox scrapped their way back to tie the game both times.
But in the end, poor pitching from starter John Danks and reliever Daniel Webb was too much to overcome in an 11-7 loss at U.S. Cellular Field.
The really good teams go on extended winning streaks throughout the season. The not-bad teams struggle to string wins together, and the Sox had a shot to sweep a three-game series for only the second time this year.
It looked like they had a good shot, even after Danks was scorched for 7 runs on 12 hits in 4⅓ innings.
The White Sox' offense was able to pick up the starter, but the Sox were out of gas after Webb came out of the bullpen and allowed 4 runs on 4 hits and a walk in the seventh inning.
Danks put the blame on himself.
"Nothing else really to say, it (stunk)," Danks said. "I dug us a hole. These guys fought hard to get out of it, but it (stinks) to set a tone like that. For whatever reason, Houston's beat me up this year. Fortunately we're done with them and we won the series, but it stinks to go out there with a chance to sweep and not pitch well."
In 2 starts against the Astros this season, Danks allowed 14 earned runs on 22 hits (5 home runs) in 9 innings. "We're going to have to look at that because that's obviously been a problem this year," he said. "We'll see. We'll get ready for the next one."
Offensively, the Sox scored 7 runs on 10 hits, tying the game with 3 runs in the sixth inning.
"It was definitely a slugfest," said Adam Eaton (2-for-3), who extended his hitting streak to seven games. "It seems like we've been coming out on top with those, especially here recently. But their pitcher (Jarred Cosart) kept us off balance early, we came back and scored a couple runs, and you can go either way when you start swinging the bat and then it turns into a slugfest. It was a tough one."
It's been a tough, up-and-down season for the White Sox, and now the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline is creeping up.
It remains to be seen if general manager Rick Hahn makes any major moves, but the Sox' inability to go on an extended roll seems to indicate at least one or two trades are possible with the focus shifting to next season.
Eaton is remaining in an optimistic present.
"We don't like to lose like that, but definitely taking two out of three, it's a great start to start the second half," Eaton said. "We want to keep that momentum going. As history presents itself, we should rattle off a couple more and then lose about four or five and come back down.
"Hopefully we can get hot, that's what we're looking at. A hot month, everyone else kind of play even-keel and continue to have that momentum going forward."