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The Sox have now strung together more than two-dozen doughnuts—they've gone 25 innings without a run. The Pirates beat them 3-0 last night in Pittsburgh, even though the Sox smashed four singles, and three times pushed runners all the way to second base. The night before, while the Blackhawks were capturing the Stanley Cup, the Sox were edged by the Pirates, 11-0. Pittsburgh collected 18 hits, the Sox a pair of singles. The day before that, at Tampa, the Sox scored their lone run in the second inning en route to a 2-1 loss to the Rays.
"We have to be able to swing the bats better," Ventura also analyzed last night.
Jose Quintana, the tough-luck losing pitcher, added: "Sometimes you have bad nights and bad days."
And sometimes, bad weeks and bad months. With their latest losing streak at five, the Sox are napping in the basement of the AL Central, seven under .500 and nine out of first.
Their offense has been nearly imperceptible. Of the 30 teams in the big leagues, the Sox are last in hits, doubles, and total bases, 29th in runs scored, 28th in homers, 29th in slugging percentage, 28th in on base percentage, and 26th in batting average.
But this has been an all-around effort: the team also can't run, pitch, or catch. They're 27th in stolen bases and 29th in stolen base percentage, 25th in earned run average, and 24th in fielding percentage.
Would it be wrong to blame all this on Adam Dunn? Maybe, but let's do it anyway, because the Sox desperately need a scapegoat. The Sox traded the Big Breeze near the end of last season, and he's now officially retired. But he spent four seasons here in an early $56 million retirement, during which he fanned 720 times and hit .201 before the naked eyes of his teammates, and that's not something a team recovers from overnight. (The Sox sent Dunn to Oakland last August 31. The A's then were 20 games over .500, but with Dunn on their side, they went 10-16 the rest of the way and dropped the wild card game. And the specter of Dunn lingers in Oakland as it does in Chicago: the A's this year are in the cellar of the AL West, 11 under .500.)
The Sox were tempting fate when they replaced the big, red-bearded lefty, who came here from Washington, with another big, red-bearded lefty from Washington, who even had the same first name (Adam LaRoche).
The south-siders have been especially underwhelming at the start of their games this season, scoring only 19 runs in 63 contests while allowing 53. This is "a phenomenon that needs to stop,’’ Ventura dissected yesterday. "We have to have guys get better when they get in there in the first inning."
The Sox return home to play the Pirates again tonight and tomorrow, and, to try to capitalize on the Blackhawks parade and rally tomorrow, the club is offering a special deal for Thursday night's game: fans wearing any kind of Blackhawks clothing will get tickets for $15 "subject to availability."
Subject to availability! At least the club has a sense of humor.