CLEVELAND -- Paul Konerko had the simplest explanation for the White Sox's latest rut during which they have lost eight of 11 games. They also have been shut out a major-league-leading six times in only 33 games.
"We're just not good right now, that's it," Konerko said Wednesday after a 4-0 loss to the Indians.
The Sox fell to 3-13 in games in which they score three runs or fewer, further fueling the feeling they lack energy and competitiveness needed to win close games.
The breeze swirling around Progressive Field didn't stem solely from the frustration Jermaine Dye and manager Ozzie Guillen expressed. They each were ejected in a span of less than five minutes in the sixth inning for questioning home plate umpire Mike DiMuro's strike zone.
The Sox struck out 10 times and are averaging nearly seven strikeouts a game. They loaded the bases in the sixth and seventh innings but didn't score as five of their six outs against 2008 American League Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee came on strikeouts.
"Game on the line, we strike out," Guillen said. "People on base, we strike out. Lead off an inning, we strike out. We have to cut that. That's a big part of the game. You put the ball in play, you have a better chance. We really strike out too much, even the guys who strike out. We have people who strike out more than Jimmy [Thome].
"That's a little embarrassing, you strike out more than Jim Thome, because Jim has one way. He's not going to be on base 300 times [with] 150 strikeouts, 150 walks. He's going to be a Hall of Famer. Some guys aren't going to be Hall of Famers. They strike out too much and they have to be better."
Josh Fields has struck out 39 times -- six more than Thome, who has a .352 on-base percentage. Dye has struck out 32 times and Brent Lillibridge has struck out 19 times in only 65 at-bats.
Dye wasn't available after the game to elaborate on his ejection, which came after he flicked his bat and spiked his helmet after walking away from the plate.
Guillen thought DiMuro's strike zone was inconsistent for both teams, as evidenced after Cleveland's Jhonny Peralta took a called strike to start the bottom of the sixth.
"I asked Peralta if that pitch was low and in, and he said yes," Guillen said.
"They thought I was crazy because I wasn't protecting J.D. I was protecting the opposition. That means I was going to send the message that I wasn't here to protect my players. I was here to protect baseball."
The Sox, meanwhile, feel grateful they're still within three games of .500 with 129 games left.
"I'm glad [it's only mid-May] because it buys us more time," Konerko said. "I don't want to have to answer [why we're behind] now because we're not going anywhere right now. As a player you try and find the positives, and that's what I'm trying to do.
"This game comes at you almost every day -- we have an off day [Thursday] -- but we play almost every single day. So as a player you can try and look at what's wrong with yourself or the team, but the game is coming at you the next day. You have to be ready."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times