Maybe it's a hangover from being swept by the first-place Minnesota Twins.
Maybe it's finally realizing that life without Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez may mean going without a division title.
Whatever the reasons, the White Sox need to find some solutions fast before they find themselves chasing the Twins and the Cleveland Indians.
The Sox lost 3-2 Thursday night to the Tigers, their fifth straight defeat and the first of a seven-game trip manager Ozzie Guillen said could be the defining point of the season.
The Sox now are four games behind the Twins in the American League Central Division and just 1½ games ahead of third-place Cleveland.
Some common Sox themes are beginning to emerge: a lack of timely hitting and critical errors.
On Wednesday, the Twins' winning run scored via a Jose Valentin error.
On Thursday, the Tigers' game-winner came in the sixth inning when Valentin's throw to second baseman Willie Harris on Rondell White's potential double-play ball went behind Harris, who couldn't make the catch.
"We both made mistakes," Harris said. "He made a mistake with the throw, and I made a mistake by not expecting a bad throw."
After a walk to load the bases, Bobby Higginson's infield groundout scored Dmitri Young.
"Physical errors are going to happen," Guillen said. "But we have to make those plays. It was a big play, especially the way we're hitting."
Or not hitting.
The Sox managed only five hits off five Tigers, two coming off Roberto Novoa in his major-league debut.
"Obviously, I'm concerned," Guillen said. "It's time for someone to step up and do some damage."
After Guillen declared the top spots in the batting order have to get on base, Harris and Timo Perez, Thursday's 1-2 hitters, went 2-for-7 with a walk, two doubles and two runs scored.
But the rest of the lineup didn't do much. The Sox sent more than four men to the plate in an inning only once and went down in order five times.
"If you don't hit, you don't win many games," Guillen said.
Without Thomas and Ordonez in the middle of the lineup, Guillen has been forced to scratch and claw for runs. It's hard to do when there are few runners on base. But even when the Sox do get runners, they have trouble advancing them.
"When we try to create something, it doesn't work," Guillen said. "You kind of sit there and you don't know what to do."
After Ross Gload led off the Sox's eighth with a pinch single, Guillen tried to hit and run with Harris. But Harris couldn't reach a pitch up and away, and Gload was thrown out at second. Harris then doubled and was left stranded at third.
The Sox's runs were of the manufactured variety, with Harris walking, stealing second and scoring on Carlos Lee's single in the third and Perez doubling, going to third on Lee's fly to right and scoring on Carl Everett's sacrifice fly in the sixth.
But the two runs the Tigers scored off hard-luck loser Scott Schoeneweis in the second and the one helped by Valentin's error in the sixth stood up.
For Schoeneweis, it was his best outing since May 30, although he got himself in trouble because he went deep into counts and ran up his pitch total to 104 in 51/3 innings.
"I definitely wish I could have done a better job," Schoeneweis said. "It's a step in the right direction."
But Sox starters pretty much have to throw shutouts now to have a chance. Since June 1, the Sox are 23-26.
"Things aren't going our way," Harris said. "We just have to keep battling."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times