I’ve seen Monday night’s game before.
Last season the White Sox were immolated at home in a three-game sweep at the hands of Minnesota to put the cap on a prolonged late-season slide. It wasn’t just disastrous in result, it was humbling in the truest sense. It let the front office know that they would need significant additions in order to walk on the same ground as the Twins. They responded by signing Adam Dunn, so buttons.
This year, Detroit handled most of the dirty work at their own home stadium, but Monday night they made a public announcement of their conquest and domination to the Chicago fans. Or, what was left of them on Monday night. 22,750 is quite the optimistic figure.
John Danks, beacon of White Sox talent and untapped potential, was mauled for 7 ER in 5 IP, including back-to-back home runs in the 2nd. His step back in results in 2011 belies a mighty fine K/BB ratio, but it’s baffling to a fault. Should it be thrilling that his price has likely dropped, or disheartening that he seems to have centered around a ceiling of ‘above-average’ while the Sox ponder giving him a big payday?
A.J. Pierzynski had a thrilling three wild pitches slip through the wickets on the night in a preview of the defense that will await the Sox behind the plate in 2012. It’ll continue there because Tyler Flowers can’t make contact with things.
The only exciting scoring opportunity of the night fizzled in the 1st when Viciedo and Rios reacted to loaded bases with groundouts. I’d make more of this, but, the Tigers scored 14 runs Monday night. The Sox would need to have kick-started a merry go-round for it to have been worth their time.
That, and the outfield defense somehow managed to compensate for the absence of Rios with their own ineptitude.
More than anything, the Sox were completely non-competitive against the elite of their division, with a favorable pitching matchup against the aggressively mediocre Rick Porcello no less.
On Tuesday, Verlander will eviscerate, and on Wednesday Dylan Axelrod will be thrown into the thresher, but on Monday, the franchise was put in their place by another divisional rival they outspent just to sniff the doormat of.
Baseball is a business after all, so it would seem that U.S. Cellular lying fallow in a September showdown with the AL Central would be as big of an impetus for change than Kenny Williams taking a bath on all his trades for three years straight, or Ozzie Guillen going against every intuitive element of player management. Even if the latter two contributed to the former.
The White Sox are broken, perhaps as far away from contention as they’ve been in the last three seasons, and virtually handcuffed to an even weaker roster next season. So as frustrating as it is to see them as a thoroughly second-class 2nd place team again, the climb to stay this relevant will only get harder, especially if the capital to fund it dissipates.
Or, you know, things could change. The Diamondbacks are going to the playoffs after looking destitute last season, the Pirates and Indians competed for no reason this year. Resignation and defeat is not a safe position to take in baseball. I’d just rather if the organizational approach wasn’t a petition to randomness.
Also, while this dire eulogy to life as we know it was influenced by a particularly dreary night at U.S. Cellular Field, USCF does have elotes, which are delightful.
Tags: A.J. Pierzynski, Alex Rios, arizona diamonbacks, baseball, Cleveland Indians, Dayan Viciedo, Detroit Tigers, John Danks, Kenny Williams, Ozzie Guillen, Pittsburgh Pirates, Rick Porcello, Tyler Flowers, us cellular field, White Sox