CHICAGO | The White Sox have been in the wheels-falling-off-the-wagon stage for nearly two weeks, yet could always take comfort in a still-effective bullpen if they had the lead.
Until Sunday. The last wheel careened off the listing vehicle when Matt Lindstrom, Donnie Veal and Jesse Crain combined to give away a 2-1 lead with four runs in the Sox’s 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
It’s still the proverbial “early” stage in the season. But at 7-11 and losses in nine of their last 12 games, the Sox now will have to play a few weeks of good baseball to dig themselves out of the widening sinkhole.
Against the Twins Sunday, the Sox produced two manufactured runs and Adam Dunn’s seventh-inning homer that snapped a career-worst 0-for-31 hitless streak. Dunn struck out swinging his other three times at-bat.
“We don’t think about that,” Lindstrom said of the small margin of error. He was charged with his first three runs after eight scoreless innings to start his Sox career.
“There was no added pressure to go out there to put up a zero,” Lindstrom said. “It more just my stuff.”
Manager Robin Ventura can handle the bullpen implosion. The timing just was poor given all other team woes.
“Guys are human,” he said. “It’s going to happen on occasion.”
With Gordon Beckham and Dayan Viciedo on the disabled list and Dunn again in the ditch, Ventura said he has “no problem” experimenting with a lineup he hardly changed in 2012.
Between the laggard offense and poor bullpen work, Gavin Floyd’s good performance was wasted. Floyd, who came in 0-3 with a 6.32 ERA, gave up one run and three hits in six innings.
“It was bittersweet,” Floyd said. “You’re happy you threw well ... unhappy you lost.”
The Sox were comforted by the presence of lefty John Danks, just back from extended spring training. As his shoulder strengthens from surgery last summer, Danks will confer with team medical staff today to determine when he might go on a rehab assignment.
Although velocity was rated by Danks as third on a list of important factors to get him back to the Sox, he still believes he’d have to average 88 to 91 mph, “which is close to where I was,” consistently on his fastball from start to start.
“I don’t want to be back until I can help the team,” Danks said. “It would be selfish of me to go out there just because I’m physically able to do it. I don’t feel I’m real far off.”
“You haven’t heard anything about setbacks,” Ventura said. “For me, it’s how he’s feeling. All the reports have been good so far, so you just continue to go down that path.”