Monday, August 02, 2004
Ugly Weekend . . . But Is There Hope Still?
The Sox completed a seven game losing streak with their ugly 3-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers Saturday night. Despite a very well pitched game by Mark Buerhle, Cliff Politte collapsed almost immediately upon entering the game in the 10th inning (why not Takatsu? - the Sox used him in the 9th of a tie game Wednesday), eventually walking in the winning run with two outs. (Shudder). But it's worse than that - the Sox could have scored the winning run in the 6th, but slow-footed Paul Konerko was tagged out at home trying to score when Jose Valentin flied to right. The Sox have been abysmal with runners on third and less than two outs lately; had Joe Borchard not grounded into a double play in the 9th on Wednesday and had Valentin lifted his fly ball a little deeper, the Sox would only be 2 games out. Those are pretty big failures.
But I do think there is some (small) amount of hope. I say this because last August 2nd, our good friends in Minnesota were 54-55 and 4.5 games out of first. You can look it up. They went an astounding 36-17 the rest of the way to finish 90-72. The Sox, by comparison, are 53-49 (two games better than the '03 Twinkies), and would need to go 37-23 (2.5 games worse) to finish 90-72. OK, OK, that's .617 baseball, but the Twinkies needed to play .679 baseball last year to pull off their 90-win season.
Of course, asking .616 baseball from this group of White Sox is a lot. But here's the point. They have to do it, or they're dead for the year. It's do or die; every win is vitally important until the end of the season. There are no games they can lose.