Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Death Knell...

In 2005, the White Sox rallied around "Don't Stop Believin'", that awesomely bad '80s power anthem from awesomely bad '80s pop rockers Journey.

No word yet if AJ Pierzynski has adopted another late-season rallying song, but at this point a good suggestion would be Rod Stewart's "Reason to Believe".

With the Tigers winning by virtue of 3 solo homers and a good pitching performance from Kenny Rogers, and the Twins AGAIN dipping into their magic well for a comeback win against Oakland, last night's extra-inning affair in Anaheim was a game the Sox needed to have. For their own psyche, 1.5 is a lot less a mountain to climb than 2.5.

Well, mission un-accomplished. First, the Sox squandered a quality outing from Mark Buehrle - 7 innings, 3 runs, and two of them coming off a Juan Rivera homer in the first. I only mention that because if you happen to catch the replay of Rivera's blast, your thoughts will be the same as mine: WHAT THE HELL IS HE DOING SWINGING AT THAT PITCH? It wasn't even a little below his knees. It was tailing towards his ankles. Yet somehow he golf-balled it over the left field fence.

Then the Sox wasted the outstanding relief effort of Matt Thornton, who retired Garret Anderson with the go-ahead run on 3rd in the 8th. In the top of the 9th they had first and third, 1 out and couldn't score. Then Bobby Jenks came on to intentionally walk Vlad Guerrero and needed only one pitch to get Rivera to ground into a double-play to end the 10th. Then in the 11th Ross Gload was at second and nobody could pick him up. (This all relates to the fifth when the Sox gambled with the double-steal and lost; I know a lot of people hate Scott Podsednik for this, but stealing 3rd is about the only thing he's been consistently great at this season - 26 of 28 before last night's attempt).

So finally, with all these blown chances you knew it was coming - Chone Figgins (who, if you believe the LA Times might be part of a package for the Halos to get Joe Crede in the offseason, thereby sparing Kenny Williams the torture of having to negotiate with Scott Boras) singled in the winning run with 2 out in the 11th.

SOX STANDINGS: 83-62, 2.5 Back in the Wild Card, 4 Back in the Division
Magic # for the Playoffs: 21

But really - if the Sox can't win that game, what can they win in the big picture this season? Grinder Rule #30 is that "Good Enough, Isn't". While that may sound like Yoda talking, it's gonna wind up being a pretty neat summation of the 2006 White Sox. If any of these 3 teams battling in the AL Central were in the NL, they'd be about one win away from clinching and already setting up their postseason rotation. The Sox have been good, sometimes great, but ultimately not great enough this year. They need to gain 2.5 games in the final 17. It can definitely be done.

I'm just looking for a reason to believe THESE Sox can do it.



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