If you’re planning on going to Six Flags next year, you’ll see a new ride plopped right in front of the American Eagle, and it’s simply called the Chicago White Sox. The reason for its being there is simple; it is finally official that the White Sox have effectively become a roller coaster over the past decade and a half.
Every time the Sox seem to be close to clinching that division title, or are on the verge of being eliminated, something always happens to turn that around. That is, every single time sans 2005, of course. But chalk 2012 up as yet another year the team has put fans on a wild ride, making them at times feel like they’re flying high, and at others completely sick to their stomachs.
In the weekend series against the Los Angeles Angels, the White Sox played pretty horrendously. With a win desperately needed to avoid a sweep on Sunday, things weren’t looking good at all. In the Sox previous four losses, their offense had fallen silent, with the most glaring hole being a .094 batting average with runners in scoring position.
On Friday night, the Sox lost 6-2 despite striking first with a run in the first inning. From then on, Ervin Santana basically stymied the White Sox, as he picked up the victory after he threw seven innings, fanned eleven, and only allowed two hits. The Sox just looked clueless throughout out most of the game, and that incompetence would continue the next day.
Right off the bat, Jose Quintana dug the Sox into a hole after giving up four earned runs in the first inning, including a balk heavily disputed by manager Robin Ventura. Ventura was later ejected in the fourth inning, but Quintana was able to settle down a bit as he pitched four more scoreless innings. But again, the Sox offense couldn’t rise to the occasion. Paul Konerko’s homer in the second wasn’t enough to start anything, and the offense simply faded. This loss, coupled with a Detroit Tigers’ victory, reduced the Pale Hose’s lead to half a game, making avoiding a sweep that much more important. With the Sox knowing this, you think the ineptitude the team was showing would come to an end…
As it turns out, the Sox had a golden opportunity right at the start. The Tigers lost the first game of their double header against the Minnesota Twins just as the Sox got underway (The Tigers later lost the second game of the double header). How did the Sox answer that information on the scoreboard? By leaving the bases loaded in the first inning. And of course there’d be more to follow. The Sox ended up stranding seven base runners throughout the game and were 0-5 with runners in scoring position. It’s a wonder the Sox managed any runs in their 4-1 loss, thus giving the Angels a clean sweep.
So what does all this mean for the White Sox? Now they ride into the final week and a half of the season with a five-game losing streak. The Tigers are right on their tail and actually riding some momentum. And let’s remember now, you definitely need momentum to carry you into the postseason, and it looks like the White Sox need to find that elusive potion in just 10 days. Now the Cleveland Indians will try to play spoiler against the Pale Hose during this three-game set in Chicago.
The Sox open the series with Chris Sale, giving them the best chance of winning and snapping this horrible streak early. The Tigers on the other hand are facing the Kansas City Royals, and all the Sox can do is pray that the Royals confuse the Tigers as much as they did the Sox throughout this season. At least the Indians are in the league’s cellar right now, so this could be the chance the White Sox need to regain control before the Tampa Bay Rays come to town over the weekend. The Indians are also 4-6 in their last 10 games. However, the clock is ticking, and the only team that will beat the White Sox is not the Indians, Rays, or even the Tigers, but, well… the White Sox.
Game 1 (Monday, 7:05 p.m. CT)
Chris Sale (17-7, 2.82 ERA) vs. Zach McAllister (5-8, 4.31 ERA)
Game 2 (Tuesday, 1:10 p.m. CT)
Francisco Liriano (6-11, 5.24 ERA) vs. Corey Kluber (1-4, 5.36 ERA)
Game 3 (Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. CT)
Jake Peavy (11-12, 3.40 ERA) vs. Justin Masterson (11-15, 4.97 ERA)
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