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So, Are The Sox Still Playing?

by Mike DePilla
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
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So, somebody fill me in. The last baseball thing I saw was the Sox season ending last Wednesday night at the Cell. If anyone thought the team was still alive after losing the first game of a must-sweep series (they weren't), all doubts were put to rest from my vantage point in Section 116 as the Twins drubbed the Sox again on Wednesday.

So distraught with the Sox' performance, I left town for the next four days. (My friend's wedding in Virginia was also a contributing factor.) I came back last night to see that the Sox lost the finale against the Twins on Thursday, and then were swept by the Tigers to stretch the losing streak to six games.

With the Sox de facto eliminated from the playoffs, I also saw that Jim from Sox Machine rolled out the things to watch as the team plays out the string. The ones at the top of my list: Paul Konerko's pursuit of 40 homeruns, Juan Pierre's pursuit of 60 stolen bases, Brent Morel's try out for the third base job in 2011, and the possible last days as a White Sox of Konerko, Pierzynski, Jenks, Quentin and maybe Guillen and/or Williams.

I also saw that Guillen defended his troops, applauded their hard play and said he is more proud of this team than any other in his Sox tenure. Pretty high praise for a relatively-average team. Heck, Ozzie sounded more down on retiring organist Nancy Faust, saying about her trademark organ: "it gets old."

I tuned in last night to see the Sox losing streak reach seven games. The most interesting thing to come from last night's shutout loss in Oakland was Darrin Jackson's belief there was a guy named "Shrimp" in the Three Stooges.

******

The Sox overcame early adversity and battled their way to respectability in the AL Central, but this marks the fifth year in a row the team has faded down the stretch in what some might call "choking" or at least "semi-choking" fashion.
  • 2006: The Sox led the Wildcard on Sept 1. They then went 12-16 in September and missed the playoffs. They finished 5 games out of the Wildcard.
  • 2007: Out of contention since early June, the horrible season was cemented with a 9-20 record in August. They finished 24 games back.
  • 2008: In a tight division race all season, the Sox were in first place entering September. They went only 12-15 that month, blowing a 2.5 game lead with six to play, but still made the playoffs.
  • 2009: In a very winnable AL Central, the Sox were only 1.5 games out of first on August 1. They added a bunch of players but went only 11-17 that month. Still, they were 4 games ahead of the Twins as late as Aug. 20, but continued to slide, prompting the trade of Jim Thome. They went 13-14 in September and finished 7.5 back.
  • 2010: The Sox were in first place on August 1 but slipped to second with a 14-15 month. Still in contention, they went 7-11 in their first 18 games of September and are currently 11 games out.
Hard-fighting team or not, that is not a good trend, and it is something that needs to be addressed. Out of the 10 Augusts and Septembers since 2006, the Sox have had a winning record in only three of them- August '06 (which was followed by a collapse in September), September '07 (the most meaningless month of White Sox baseball in a decade) and August '08.

The Twins, on the other hand, have been .500 or better seven times in that span.

It's going to be hard to take any Sox team seriously until they play better down the stretch.

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