It doesn't come as a surprise anymore when the White Sox don't deliver with men in scoring position. In fact, we've reached the point where Sox fans have more angst when the bases are loaded and nobody out than any other scenario because there's likely disappointment right around the corner.
Last night against the Rays, the Sox loaded the bases on two occasions before the first out in the inning was recorded and scored just two runs--one on a hit batter and one on a double play grounder.
And it wasn't like they hit their way on base. In the fourth inning Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko walked and Alex Rios hit a ground ball single before Dayan Viciedo was hit by the pitch. Instead of putting up a crooked number as opposed to a lone run to tie the game, Alexei Ramirez popped out and Gordon Beckham lined out.
Then in the fifth after the Rays went ahead 2-1, Alejandro De Aza singled, Kevin Youkilis was hit by a pitch and Dunn walked. Konerko, who looks lost at the plate and has seen his average dip below .300 for the first time this season, hit into the double play. Rios fanned to end the inning. The two runs tied the score, but the Sox missed a golden opportunity to build up a lead and do something that's been rare lately--a victory. In the previous 20 games, the Sox hit .179 with runners in scoring position. They were 1 for 8 last night.
To me, that was the game right there as Jake Peavy was up to the task of challenging James "Big Game" Shields. The South Siders were blanked the rest of the way and the Rays got the clutch homer by Evan Longoria in the ninth. The tying run was on first with two out in the home half of the inning, but Dunn struck out.
There are obviously two big obstacles between the Sox and the postseason. One is the math--two games behind the Tigers with six games to go. Second, the Sox have to find a way to win some games while hoping the Twins and Royals can do some damage at home vs. Detroit.
Easy to understand, hard to do.