Last season when the White Sox dropped their July 31st game in the Metrodome in painful fashion and picked up Ken Griffey Jr. to play CF on the same day, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek headline that read "The Day The White Sox Lost The Central." Nearly a year later with the Sox getting swept out of the dome (again), the Sox chances seem even more bleak.
Although the roster sure feels a whole lot better with no more Lillibridge, Betemit, Anderson and crew, there hasn't been much progress in the way of results. The Sox have closed each month of the season within a game of .500, where they now sit (51-51) with two days left in the month. They might have made progress in July, but their 1-6 record this week against their two chief division rivals has erased any gains... and the schedule doesn't get any easier as they head to August.
Bartolo Colon informed Ozzie Guillen of his sore right elbow late last night, which didn't exactly make Guillen swell with pride. We all knew Colon would get injured. We practically counted on it. But it's not like he was really doing anything but snacking on innings when he was healthy. His ERA looks nice and all, but there's BetemiTon of unearned runs in there that still count against the Sox bottom line. There's really no reason why the Sox should bother to count on him for anything other than headaches the rest of the season.
Carlos Quentin hit his first homerun since April to pull the Sox even at 2, but he pulled up lame and hobbled around the bases. Replays showed that he actually seemed to reaggravate his PF in the previous half-inning during one of the rare occasions that Alexi Casilla made an out. It doesn't appear that the injury will take Quentin out for any period of time in the near future, but the two plays illustrated just how close he is to being forced to shut it down for the rest of the season. He's either going to be hobbled for the rest of the year, or finish it just like he did last year.
Alexei Ramirez caught a spike attempting to make a take-out slide at second and appeared in great pain as he rolled around on the Dome's unforgiving carpet. The official word is that he has a sprained ankle, as he left the building on crutches with X-rays scheduled for tomorrow.
What passes for optimism around here
Yeah, things aren't exactly all puppy dogs and roses right now. But I'm reminded of the way I closed that entry I referenced in the opening, here's the last paragraph:
[T]here was a game last night. And it sucked. And there will be a lot written about momentum, and ejections, and stuff being thrown on the field. And not a lick of it will have any staying power as a narrative if the Sox rebound and start kicking ass over the final two months.
The last series sucked. Nearly everything has sucked since Buehrle's perfect game. But this division is terribly mediocre, just like the Sox. I'm not really in favor of any more future-changing trades in exchange for relievers -- the Sox are rumored to be after George Sherrill, and, just for good measure, have scouted Felix Pie "for over 6 weeks" -- as the Sox can win the division with their current roster. But they can also lose it (and a lot more) if they drain their farm system looking to grab the bronze ring.