DETROIT—The strange looks are not confined to plate umpire Dan Iassogna and his floating strike zone.
The White Sox's once-vaunted offense has hit an untimely skid that can't save their pitching staff from any rut.
Add in their disagreements with Iassogna and the result was a 4-0 loss that shoved the Sox 71/2 games behind Detroit in the AL Central.
Manager Ozzie Guillen took inventory, from his concern for his players' resolve to his disagreement with Iassogna over calls and his subsequent ejection in the top of the second inning.
"My worry is not that we lose," Guillen said after the Sox had lost for the sixth time in eight games. "It's how we're going to wake up and figure out this mess.
"My coaches and I have to make sure those guys show up and be ready to play. Those kinds of games can let you down for a while."
The Sox were blanked for the third time this season and have scored more than three runs only twice in their last eight games. They're batting .211 in the first five games of their seven-game AL Central odyssey.
Third baseman Joe Crede hit two deep drives to right but was 0-for-4 and has only four hits in his last 32 at-bats.
Shortstop Juan Uribe was robbed of a hit by right fielder Magglio Ordonez in the seventh and is 6-for-30.
"We've faced some pretty good pitching, I can't deny that," Guillen said.
"But besides that, we don't have good at-bats. Our pitching set the tone, and it's hard to overcome all the time."
First baseman Paul Konerko, the victim of a first-inning called strike that ignited the acrimony between the Sox and Iassogna, added: "That's just it. When you don't score runs, you always look flat."
Guillen said he would apologize to one of his coaches, who he told to shut up before Iassogna tossed him after a called strike to Uribe in the second.
"When you have to tell one of your coaches to shut up, you know something is wrong on the field," said Guillen, who was ejected for the fifth time this season and the second time by this umpiring crew.
Pitching coach Don Cooper also had words with Iassogna after visiting the mound during the Tigers' two-run first off starter Mark Buehrle.
"No comment," Buehrle said.
"I've let my comments be known about the strike zone and everything else. I'll just let Ozzie do the talking."
But after Guillen was tossed, the Sox still couldn't score as the Tigers added two more runs off Buehrle.
Despite all the bickering over Iassogna's strike zone, the Sox were only 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
"It's not that [we're] flat," said Sandy Alomar Jr., who hit into a force play with the bases loaded to end the seventh.
"You look flat when you don't score runs. It's like chemistry. When you win, you have chemistry. When you don't win, you don't have any. Nobody is going to be happy when you lose."
The Sox kept their half-game lead over Minnesota in the AL wild-card race but fell to 10-9 on this stretch of 24 consecutive games without a day off.
They also lost any chance of gaining ground on Detroit in this four-game series.
"Just try to salvage now," Konerko said.