‘It’s not fun’: Chicago White Sox strike out 17 times in 8-0 rout – and scoreless in 24 innings – as skid hits 7

Pedro Grifol said he did not anticipate the struggles of the Chicago White Sox.

“But you don’t control the cards you’re dealt,” the first-year manager said before Wednesday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. “You control how you react to it. And that’s the only thing we can control.

“Adversity is educational. And how you deal with adversity is also very important. We’re not going to panic about this. I will reflect and work and make adjustments and be hard on myself, but I certainly won’t panic.”

Those adjustments will have to be made at home after the Sox ended a six-game winless trip with an 8-0 loss in front of 35,069 at the Rogers Centre.

The trying times continued for the Sox, who suffered their seventh straight loss and are 11 games under .500 at 7-18. It’s their worst 25-game start since 1986, when they also went 7-18.

“We’re in a funk and we’ve got to come together as a team and figure out how to get out of it because it’s not fun,” catcher Seby Zavala said.

The Sox followed three losses to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field with three more against the Blue Jays, who did some of their damage Wednesday with two outs.

Sox starter Michael Kopech retired the first two batters of the third inning. Santiago Espinal singled and Kopech hit George Springer with a pitch. Bo Bichette followed with an RBI single and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drove in two with a double.

“(They) put together some decent ABs, hit some good pitches, made some mistakes and had a big inning there that can hurt you,” Kopech said. “I didn’t feel like I threw the ball terribly, but the bottom line is I’ve got to throw better.”

Espinal had an RBI single with two outs in the fourth to extend the Blue Jays lead to 4-0.

Kopech allowed four runs on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks over five innings.

“Right now we haven’t been doing both (pitching and hitting) together very well,” Kopech said. “They are still confident, things will come together. It’s been a tough time for us and we all feel it.

“The bottom line is the pitching side needs to be better and overall we need to be better. I’ll take this one myself. I need to be more efficient. Take away the big innings and we haven’t done that.”

The Sox were outscored 20-2 in the series. Their only runs came on an Andrew Vaughn double in the third inning of Monday’s 5-2 loss. They will take a 24-inning scoreless drought into Thursday’s series opener against the Rays at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The collective offensive decline continued Wednesday with 17 strikeouts. Toronto pitchers have struck out 10 of their last 11 batters.

“We have to clean up, we have to be tougher outings,” Grifol said after the game. “I see frustration when we fall behind and we have to clean that up. Just because we fall behind in a game doesn’t mean we can’t win a game.

“We went back before. We were just down 4-0 in Tampa (Friday) and we came back and took a 7-4 lead (in an eventual 8-7 loss). We just need to clean some things up.”

For the second straight game, the Sox were limited to four hits – all singles. They had 11 hits in the series, four by Andrew Benintendi.

“We’re giving up big innings and it’s tough on our offense,” Zavala said. “It puts a lot of pressure on our offense and in turn it puts pressure on our pitchers because we can’t score runs or not score runs.

“If you can’t score runs, you can never win a game. And that puts pressure on pitchers. When you put unnecessary pressure on both sides, it’s hard.”

The Sox have been shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since April 21-22, 2017, against Cleveland. They have lost nine of 10 and 12 of 14.

A seven-game homestand begins with a four-game series against the Rays, who have baseball’s best record at 20-4 heading into Wednesday night’s game against the Houston Astros.

Asked if the Sox are approaching the upcoming challenge, Zavala said, “We have to.”

“There’s no other way to say it,” he said. “We have to find a way to start winning and we can’t curl up in a ball. If you curl up in a ball, then you leave our locker room. I don’t think we have any of those guys. But if someone feels that way, then they will definitely bring us down.”


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