Let's face it. It doesn't seem like big, showdown games are the White Sox thing. The adrenaline, the palpable pregame excitement, the capacity crowds; they probably do nothing more than weird everybody in black & white out. The Twins were drawing 40,000 for all of those games, crowds the Sox couldn't draw even if they had a "Free Guns for Juvenile Offenders" day.
But just because the Sox don't have a winning record against any AL teams above .500 doesn't mean they're not good, or that we should explore whether a team with a lineup as old and impatient as ours should ever compete. The Sox just need to get back to doing what they do best...eviscerating inferior competition.
Into that void heroically steps Baltimore and Kansas City, squads that the White Sox certainly haven't made mincemeat out of, but are at least capable of periods of the type of concentrated suckage that the South Siders desperately need so that they can do something vaguely reminiscent of June and July like...wins 6 games in a row. Some sort of sudden, vaulting winning streak is what's going to be necessary, and it's not going to come at any point in the schedule afterward, where the only sub-.500 teams are divisional opponets (not a forte of the team either), and the team can't be expected to do much more than tread water. Unless of course, Carlos Quentin returns to '08 form....or A.J. returns to any year but this year form.....or someone actually hits from the designated hitter slot.... in terms of massive improvements from fatally flawed areas of the team, the possibilities are endless.
Or they aren't at all. The White Sox need to outplay the Twins by 4 games in the 41 remaining, which isn't a lot, but is not directly afforded to them due to the clearly more difficult schedule they have over the Twins. Baltimore and Kansas City on the schedule paired with Minnesota facing vaguely challenging AL West competition, represents the only opportunity for the White Sox to make up games en masse until the final head-to-head series.
For their part, the Royals will offer mediocre-to-vulnerable pitching in '3 HRs in his last start' Sean O' Sullivan, 'worst 1st overall pick of the decade' Brian Bullington, and 'I'm so not winning the Cy Young this year' Zack Greinke. Baltimore offers the legitimately talented Jeremy Guthrie, and two starters in Brian Matusz, and Jake Arrieta who are young and promising, but show that they still don't really know what the hell they're doing a couple times a month.
Then again, the White Sox scored 23 runs in the Twins series, so victimizing C-minus pitching shouldn't really be their issue. Their bullpen was a house of cards lit on fire, and was thrown into more flux by J.J. Putz's knee going all balky in the 8th inning. The reports indicate that it's simply inflammation on his knee cap, so he should spend the next day or two trying to find that happy medium in painkiller usage between not being able to feel anything, and sleeping through the Yankees' series. On the plus side, Jenks has returned to the field, and showed good stuff again, hinting at promise in a low-stress situation for the 734th time this season.
So there you have it; I think this should be the biggest indictment of the White Sox season. I wrote a vaguely positive albeit rambling post where I called games against the Royals and Orioles the most important contests of the season, and hailed the return of Bobby Jenks.
My brain: broken.