Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Southside meltdown?

I’m a baseball fan, a Chicago White Sox fan. And, for the past several weeks, ever since shortly after the All-Star break, I’ve been watching the Sox’s 15 game lead slowly shrink away. With tonight’s loss to Cleveland, it’s down to 2&1/2 games, 3 games up in the loss column.

The loss tonight was pretty sad. Down 4-0, the Sox rallied for 4 runs in the bottom of the fifth and then went ahead 5-4 on a home-run by Carl Everett. But then their bullpen let them down. Damaso Marte puts two men on, one via a walk, and Bobby Jenks gives up a hit, allowing them to score. So, we go into the bottom of the 8th, down 6-5. Ozzie puts Pablo Ozuna in to pinch-hit and he leads off with a double. The Sox now have a man on second and no one out. But Jermaine Dye can’t get him over and the next two batters just leave him there. Small-ball has disappeared from the Sox arsenal and with it, their winning ways. To add insult to injury, Dustin Hermanson walks a batter in the ninth inning and he comes around to score. The Sox mount a threat in the 9th, but fail to cash in. Indians win 7-5.

If the Sox don’t win the next two games in this series, I'm afraid it’s the end of their playoff hopes this year. Yes, they’ll still be up by 1/2 game, but I think it will just be a matter of time before the collapse is complete. The Sox have to play the Twins and the Tigers 4 more times each and they finish up the season in Cleveland to play them in the last 3 games of the season. I fear that if they get swept in their current series with the Tribe, the season-ending series with them will be meaningless, watching them get ready for the playoffs and wondering what might have been.

Last year Chicago's Northside team, the Cubs, melted down during the stretch run. They owned the wild card and just had to play .500 ball in the final few series at home against such “lowly” teams as the Reds and the Pirates. But they couldn’t get it done. This year, it could be Chicago's Southside team that melts down. They may up winning 95 games and yet fail to make the playoffs. What a pity that would be…

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