Sox’s struggles continue with loss at Royals

By Scott Nicol

The White Sox moved to 31-32 on after Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals.

The Sox had a busy week on-and-off the field as they made several roster moves including a trade with the San Diego Padres that landed Chicago starting pitcher James Shields.

To acquire Shields, the White Sox gave up two prospects in right-handed pitcher Erik Johnson and highly scouted 17-year old shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. The Sox also designated veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins and starting pitcher Mat Latos for assignment, called up 22-year old top prospect shortstop Tim Anderson and signed first-baseman Justin Morneau.

“Ultimately, when Tim [Anderson] arrives in Chicago it will be because we feel he’s ready to help make us better, not because of anything that is going on in this clubhouse,” said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn on Thursday. “More about what Tim is capable of doing at the big league level.”

On the field, the White Sox continued to be tested against formidable opponents as they began a nine-game home stand last Monday against the Washington Nationals, who were led by reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper.

After beginning the year 23-10 and boasting the second best record in all of baseball, the White Sox have been in a month long slump as their star first baseman Jose Abreu, who had at least 30 home runs and over 100 RBI’s in each of his first two years with the club, has struggled to get his bat going through the first 62 games of the season. Since a 13-11 loss to the Texas Rangers on May 10, the Sox have gone just 8-20, including a 2-4 record last week after losing two out of three games to both the Nationals and Royals.

The White Sox conclude their home stand with a three-game series beginning tonight against the Detroit Tigers, a familiar division opponent. Chicago is 4.5 games back of the Indians and 1.5 games back of the Tigers, so they can gain ground in what appears to be a four-team race for the division title.

“I see the division being pretty close the whole season,” said catcher Alex Avila. “It will be a dog fight all the way to the end. The team that can sustain some kind of consistent play will come out on top. It should be a fun year. It’s not how we have wanted to play the last few days. We are still right in the thick of things.”