Sox lose 4th straight

SportsFootballTravelTrips and VacationsChicago White SoxJoe CredeU.S. Cellular Field

Manager Ozzie Guillen is heading to Miami, and Joe Crede left for his farm in Missouri.

But don't get the impression the White Sox are giving up hope after their fourth consecutive loss, 6-1 Sunday to the Los Angeles Angels, capped the third three-game sweep at U.S. Cellular Field by an opponent this season.

As far as the Sox are concerned, Monday's off day comes at the right time to step away from the recent damage and rest before entering the final 20 games of the regular season.

"I need a day off from the city," Guillen said after starter Orlando Hernandez was knocked out after lasting only two innings and surrendering three first-inning home runs. "I'm going to regroup and not give up. I'm pretty positive in my team. I believe in those guys. The day off comes at the right time, before a trip. I know we'll play better [in Kansas City]."

"There's no reason to go there and try to win three games in one [game]. Take it one day at a time."

Guillen and his players spoke in composed tones after Sunday's early knockout sliced their AL Central lead to 5½ games. The Sox's frustration was fueled by their offense going 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. But they didn't see the need for a fiery postgame speech.

"The leadership thing is overrated because people know what they have to do," first baseman Paul Konerko said. "The rah-rah speeches and that stuff don't work because this isn't hockey. This isn't football, where if you're pretty intense you [might] suddenly play better. It's not like that. In fact, it gets worse sometimes."

Nor did Guillen see the need to hold a team meeting.

"The players know what's going on," said Guillen, who last held a team meeting before the start of the second half just ahead of a four-game sweep of the Indians in Cleveland. "You put a meeting on, you make your players believe like you don't believe in them. You have a meeting when the players and manager don't have communication. I talk to them.

"Just let them enjoy the day off and show up ready to play. They did it before, and why not do it again?"

The Sox are 8-2 in the first games of trips, not counting last Monday's victory in a makeup game at Boston. But the Sox can't rely on their 12-3 record against Kansas City after seeing a 15-game lead cut by nearly 10 in a span of six weeks.

"You've got to [remain calm]," Konerko said. "What's the alternative? It's frustrating. We've got 20 games left. Twenty games. You've got to do it."

Despite a boost from Willie Harris (6-for-14) and Ross Gload (2-for-6), Guillen plans to return second baseman Tadahito Iguchi (1-for-15) and designated Carl Everett (2-for-25) to the lineup Tuesday.

"I gave Carl a mental day off and let him regroup his swing and hopefully help us in the next trip," Guillen said.

The rest of the way, the Sox will play AL Central opponents, against whom they've gone 40-14. Konerko downplayed the fact that the Sox have struggled, going 12-20 against potential first-round playoff opponents in the Angels, Boston, the New York Yankees and Oakland.

"I think we can play with anybody," he said. "If we play like we did the last couple days, no. We're going to get beat by a lot of teams, not just the good teams. But we've also proven when we're on, we can play with the good teams.

"I think right now the goal is obvious. We've got to play well enough to close things out and clinch this division. Then when we get to the playoffs, then you can say 'Can you play with the good teams?'"

mgonzales@tribune.com

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