CLEVELAND – It’s hard to say that a stretch in early July is one that could have a profound impact on the season, but it’s safe to say that the stretch ahead for the White Sox is their most critical of the season.

Before the All-Star Break, the team has four games with the Guardians in Cleveland and four against the Twins in Minneapolis. They entered Monday five games behind the latter in the American League Central standings, which is not what many expected before the season when the White Sox were heavy favorites to win the division.

A bad two series may not break the club, but struggles could really make their fight for a playoff spot in the second half even harder than it’s already been.

So far, it’s not off to the best of starts.

The White Sox dropped the first game of their series with the Guardians 8-4 after Lance Lynn surrendered five first inning runs and a late comeback fell short. Then in the first of a doubleheader on Tuesday, Shane Bieber shut down the visitors in a 4-1 Cleveland victory.

The team is 6-6 in the month of July and they now trail the Twins by six games heading into the second game of the doubleheader at 6:10 PM.

Shane Bieber shut down the White Sox in Tuesday’s first contest as he allowed just three hits and one run with seven strikeouts without a walk. Spot starter Davis Martin allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings as he took this third loss on the season.

These losses weren’t what the team was looking for as they’re looking to finally jumpstart a season that’s never gotten off the ground. They remain within sight of a playoff spot, certainly, as they’ve down six games in the division and 3 1/2 in the Wild Card race, but inconsistent play continues to plague the club as 2022 continues on.