Home, sweet home. Says who?
Not the White Sox, that's for sure.
The Cell has suddenly become very confining.
With Sunday's 6-5 loss to Boston, the White Sox have lost 13 of their last 17 games at U.S. Cellular Field after losing only 17 of their first 47.
Thank goodness for the upcoming road trip to Detroit and Cleveland because the White Sox just finished a stretch of playing 13 of 16 games at homeand finished it with a 4-9 record. During those games, their batters hit only .256, their pitchers compiled a 5.54 earned-run average and their team was outscored 80-69.
Come to think of it, maybe it's not so good they are going on the road to Central towns Detroit and Cleveland because they are 6-15 in their last 21 games within the division.
However you look at it, it adds up to trouble for the Sox, who are now eight games behind Minnesota and 91/2 behind the red hot Red Sox in the wild-card chase. Oh, and below .500 for the first time since the third game of the season.
"This is do-or-die. It's up to this road trip to see what we're made of," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "If we don't play good, it will be hard for us to win the division. If we play good, we still have a shot."
At least the White Sox made this one somewhat enjoyable for the lively crowd of 34,355 fansmany of them Red Sox rooters. And part of the reason was Paul Konerko, one of the few White Sox who actually likes The Cell.
Konerko hit his second homer in two games, bringing his season total to 31 (two behind Boston's Manny Ramirez, the AL leader) and his league-leading total at home to 22.
Carlos Lee also hit a homer, but the White Sox managed only eight hits and Guillen was not happy, again.
"The thing about this club, we don't execute," Guillen said.
White Sox starter Freddy Garcia did not figure in the final decision, which at least did not worsen his night record of 3-10. But he did allow five runsand two more homers, running his total to six in the last two gamesin seven-plus innings.
It was the more of the same old stuff early, like a recurring nightmare.
The Red Sox, winners of six straight games, scored in the first and second innings for the third straight time, again with a little help from a White Sox error.
With four runs in the first two innings, the Red Sox ran their series total to 15.
"They got a couple of base hits in the first inning," Garcia said. "That happens. You try to keep the ballgame close and come back. We did [come back], but we didn't win.
"We've been hitting pretty good. The pitching staff couldn't get the job done. We're struggling."
On Sunday, Johnny Damon and Orlando Cabrera started with singles, Damon scoring on Manny Ramirez's forceout. But Willie Harris' throwing error allowed Ramirez to make second, and he scored from there on David Ortiz's double.
The Red Sox's second-inning run came on a homer by Doug Mientkiewicz, and that's when Garcia started to shut them down. He yielded only one hit over the next five innings, giving his teammates a chance to get back in the game.
Konerko got three of the runs back with his fifth-inning homer, which followed singles by Harris and Aaron Rowand.
Lee then put the White Sox ahead 5-4, and ended the night for Boston starter Derek Lowe, with his seventh-inning homer, which followed another single by Rowand.
But Garcia couldn't hold on, giving up a homer to Ramirez with his first pitch of the eighth inning. It was his 118thand finalpitch of the night, a high total considering he was starting on three days' rest.
Damaso Marte (4-5) relieved Garcia, but his first pitch to Ortiz also went out of the park, giving the lead back to Boston.
"I was expecting better stuff from [Marte]," Guillen said. "He threw a slider right in the middle of the plate."
The Red Sox survived one final threat in the bottom of the eighth inning, when Mike Timlin retired pinch-hitters Ross Gload and Timo Perez with runners on second and third.
Now the Sox take their failing show on the road in hopes of getting some kind of streak going.
"I take it one day at a time, have the same attitude every day," Guillen said. "It's not like football, where you've got to wait one week to play another game. We take it one day at time and play our hardest and best every day."