Going from the best record in baseball in June to trailing your archrival in a tight division race could cause some teams to fold, but the San Francisco Giants are remaining positive despite battling through another losing streak.
That skid could reach five if the Giants can't bust out of a scoring slump when they face Chris Sale and the visiting Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.
San Francisco was 42-21 and held a 9 1/2-game lead over the Dodgers on June 8, but it's had four losing streaks of at least four games since that point and now sits multiple games back of Los Angeles in the NL West.
The Giants (62-56) have scored seven runs during the four-game skid and ended a 10-game road trip with a three-game sweep at the hands of Kansas City after Sunday's 7-4 loss.
Despite the struggles, San Francisco is keeping in the right frame of mind heading into the stretch run.
"It still feels like we're in a position to make a run and we know (from) the past that if we can get in the playoffs, you never know what can happen," said Buster Posey, who starred for the 2010 and 2012 World Series champions.
The Giants are the only first- or second-place club with a losing home record at 29-30, and they've lost five of six at AT&T Park since the All-Star break. They'll look to get back on track against a White Sox team that swept them in a two-game set in Chicago on June 17 and 18.
Sale (10-2, 2.14 ERA) started the finale, giving up three runs in six innings of a 7-6 victory. He said he struggled to control his fastball in that game, just as he has over his last two starts.
The left-hander gave up five runs in six innings of Chicago's 10-8 win over Minnesota on Aug. 1, then allowed two runs and his first homer in six outings over six innings of a 3-1 loss to Texas on Wednesday.
''Just sporadic through the whole day,'' Sale said. ''It's been the last couple starts.''
Sale is 3-0 with a 1.85 ERA in six road starts as he opposes Ryan Vogelsong, who is seeking a third straight victory.
Vogelsong (7-8, 3.77) gave up two hits in a complete-game, 5-1 win over the Mets on Aug. 1 before allowing one run through six innings to beat Miami 7-4 on Wednesday.
The right-hander, who claimed he didn't have his best stuff against the Marlins, went 0-5 with a 4.01 ERA over his previous six outings.
''Stuff I was doing the last start didn't work,'' Vogelsong said. ''It kind of felt like I was trying something new every inning and I was just fortunate enough to have balls hit right at people. It wasn't really how I wanted to draw it up.''
The White Sox are the only team Vogelsong has yet to face, and he seems to be catching them at the right time. Chicago (56-63) has dropped seven of nine after falling 4-2 at Seattle on Sunday and has been outscored 41-9 over the last six.
"We just didn't get anything going," manager Robin Ventura said Sunday. "We had opportunities and we kept rolling a gutter ball."
Jose Abreu has 31 homers but hasn't hit one in a season-worst 12 straight games.
Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval is batting .356 while reaching base in 11 straight. He went 4 for 8 in the series at Chicago.