White Sox have two days to fish themselves out of Lake Michigan

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It's a metaphor

If one is an incident, two is a coincidence, and three is as far back as you ever want to be in a division race halfway through August, then the White Sox have fumbled (literally) their way to the doorstep of rendering their June comeback to contention super-irrelevant.  3 games back is by no means out of contention, but after the Sox went 2-4 on the most important homestand of the year, including 3 gut-wrenching, soul-crushing losses in near-rapid succession; including this Sunday's debacle--which was the baseball equivalent of being shot in the testicles and thrown in the lake tied to a cinder block--one has to wonder if the White Sox are on the brink of being in a lot of trouble.

Paul Konerko said all the right things in the wake of Wednesday's deflating dismantling at the hands of the AL-Central leading Twins;

per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune

"It's exactly what it is, one game," said Paul Konerko,
who struck out with the bases loaded against Francisco Liriano in the
fifth. "That could lose a division, but it could also be made up in 24
hours. There is a lot more fighting left to go on here. There are (47)
games left. Nobody is getting down in here. It obviously was a tough
night, but we're in the position to compete for the division going into
the middle of August."

Ahhh, it was like a cool glass of refreshing Captain water.  A reminder of how great it's been to have calm rational responses to post-game interview questions...or...should I say, 'boring and vapid responses to post-game interview questions that work to counteract Ozzie's usual wildness'.  And Paulie's casual dismissiveness, chiding us for forgetting that these guys are professionals, not pathetic malcontents going through wild swings of emotion on a daily basis, seemed valid. 

Even after the White Sox squandered Edwin Jackson's 2nd best start of the season Saturday, rationalization was still possible.

"It was just one fly ball, right?  Alex Avila has to get lucky sometime, no?!?!"

But now that Sunday's 13-8 stinkbomb has settled in, which melded the continuingly troubling (Freddy Garcia's struggles, unresolved closer situation) with the truly baffling harbingers of doom (Andruw Jones botching two fly balls in a season-crippling 8th inning), all sense of the team not being in crisis has crumbled away. 

Sox fans (as they are prone to) booed mercilessly, then fled the premises before the stench of failure could set in.  Tigers players celebrated goofily as if they knew intimately of the absurdity of what just happened, and there were waves upon waves of depressed White Sox screen shots.

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Bizarre.

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Disappointing.

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Perplexing because it features Tony Pena after the 6th inning.

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Soul-patch wearing closer fails White Sox yet again.

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Alright, well, now I'm a little depressed too.

And this excludes the full minute of screen time at the end of the CSN broadcast that "Brent Lillibridge with his face in his hands in the ChiSox dugout" received.  Any notion that this most recent spate of disaster hasn't adversely affected the mood of the White Sox dugout is pure fallacy.  The team has been kicked violently in the stomach this past week, and it's possible that they don't recover from this.  They'll have to immediately recover to play at Minnesota while settling their closer situation on the fly, and shaking off the possibility that they're down to four reliable starters again. 

What's left on the schedule is not favorable, there are a plethora of games versus winning teams (7 vs. Boston, 3 vs. NYY, 3 vs. LAA, 6 vs. Minn), games against losing teams that have played the White Sox hard in Oakland, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Kansas City, along with 7 more against Detroit.

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Just like Carlos Quentin's UZR, it's a long way up back to respectability for the Sox

But there's a very well-timed day off for the White Sox to wash out the stench of this week's unadulterated failure.  To count them out is trust the back end of Minnesota's rotation, to ignore how brilliant Edwin Jackson has been, and discount the fact that, yes, the offense does look a little bit rejuvenated by Mark Teahen.  C'mon, just a little bit.

This is a largely veteran group of guys who should realize that a lot of players on this team (Garcia, Kotsay, Jones, Vizquel, Putz, possibly Jenks and Konerko, and definitely Pierzynski) won't be returning, and could respond to it with a sense of urgency.  That said, Miguel Cabrera launched the Sox margin of error into the Bullpen Sports Bar Sunday afternoon.  Losing the series to the Twins would mean falling behind by more than they'd have head-to-head games with the Twinkies remaining, four-straight series defeats, and more than enough despair for their fan base to abandon them again.  A comeback from this point would go down as an all-time "rising up off the mat" moments for the franchise. And they've already had one of those.  Now would be a good time to hire Ozzie a speech-writer.

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