Well, Friday's 5-2 loss to the Yankees in 10 innings came along, dropping the White Sox into third place in the American League Central, and five games behind the division-leading Tigers. It's Chicago's biggest deficit since June 28.
Randy Williams (0-1) suffered the loss in a not-so-perplexing manner, with Robinson Cano launching a two-out, three-run home run to right-center through the steady rainfall and wind gusts at Yankee Stadium. But Williams got himself in trouble by walking Hideki Matsui and Nick Swisher, after striking out Mark Teixeira and retiring Alex Rodriguez on a long fly ball to center.
Eight pitches out of the zone to Matsui and Swisher, and the game-winning rally was under way.
But that rough finish didn't have Guillen scratching his head as much as a seventh-inning situation against CC Sabathia. Trailing by a 2-1 margin, the White Sox (64-65) had loaded the bases with two outs, and Gordon Beckham had worked the count full against the Yankees' ace.
Beckham ripped a single to right by Teixeira at first, scoring Alex Rios with the tying run, but Ramon Castro was thrown out by right fielder Nick Swisher by three steps at the plate, marking the second runner knocked down at home in the inning for the White Sox. Granted, Swisher fielded the ball quickly, but Guillen was stunned by Castro's baserunning.
"Never in my life, I don't remember someone getting thrown out at the plate 3-2 with two outs," said Guillen, after watching his team lose for the fourth time in five games on this 11-game road trip and fall to 2-6 during this stretch of 20 games in 20 days. "If you are a manager, you wonder what is going to be next. When you see that [stuff], you are shaking your head. That's amazing."
It was truly amazing, and actually more a testament to Mark Buehrle's mound guile, that Chicago only trailed by a mere 2-0 margin entering the seventh. Through the first six innings, New York (80-48) had scored on home runs from Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon, but also had put 11 men on base. The White Sox had just four against Sabathia, who recorded 10 of the Yankees' 14 strikeouts on Friday.
Buehrle was touched up for eight hits over six innings and remained winless with a 5.77 ERA in seven starts since his perfect game thrown against the Rays on July 23. He also stayed without a victory in 11 career head-to-head starts with Sabathia, but he gave the White Sox a chance to win by pitching out of jams in the first and third, and a bases-loaded, two-out situation in the fifth.
"Any time you go against Sabathia, especially the way he was pitching tonight -- he had his 'A stuff' -- you have to go out there and battle and give the team a chance," Buehrle said. "I tried to go as deep as I could and give up the least amount of runs I could."
"He didn't pitch great," said Guillen of Buehrle. "But he pitched good enough to keep the team where every starter should -- giving us a chance to win."
Fortunes changed in the seventh when Jermaine Dye doubled, Carlos Quentin walked and Rios doubled home Dye to cut the lead in half. Alexi Ramirez lined out and Castro's grounder to Rodriguez turned into Quentin getting nailed at home for the second out.
That play wasn't as tough for Guillen to comprehend as Castro being thrown out two batters later. In just the past two weeks alone, Guillen pointed out how he has watched two games change momentum against his team when Scott Podsednik was picked off third base in a 1-0, 14-inning loss in Seattle on Aug. 12, and then picked off second in the first inning of a 5-1 home loss to Baltimore on Aug. 21.
In Monday's 12-8 loss at Fenway Park, Jose Contreras committed an error, threw a wild pitch, walked a runner home and then gave up the lead via a three-run home run in the same third-inning debacle. Contreras will get the spot start on Saturday, after being demoted to the bullpen, but Guillen is almost afraid to watch -- and it's not because of Contreras' recent mound woes.
"You shake your head and ask, 'What's next?'" Guillen said. "Nobody is going to feel sorry for this ballclub. We have to go out there and do it.
"My coaching staff, too. We are all in the same boat and same fight. If we are going to go down, everyone in this uniform go down with no excuse. Our goal is to win. We win together, and we lose together."
Those losses together have been piling up of late. Too many more of them with only 33 games to play and the White Sox postseason push will officially run out of time.
"Mathematically, we are not out of it, but it's getting there," Buehrle said. "But if we keep playing the way we are, and Detroit and Minnesota play the way they are, it's not looking good for us."
"We have a lot of games left, and you never know what's going to happen," Guillen said. "But if we continue to play the way we are, it will be shorter than people think. It actually will be longer. It will be a long month for us."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less