67-65. 30 games to go.
When's the last time two games over .500 looked so good? When's the last time four in a row felt so good? What a relief not to drop a field goal or touchdown worth of games after getting back to .500 (forward hate mail directly if I jinx it and we drop three straight starting tomorrow...but I don't think we will!). Here are the hard facts regarding the next 30 days:
- Outright second place, 5 GB of first with a game in hand over the Tribe
- 27/30 against our division: 6 games against the Kittens (3-3 home-away), 8 against the Tribe (4-4), 6 against the Twinkies (2-4), 7 against the Monarchs (3-4)
- 2 vets on the DL, 3 youngsters stepping up in their place; 1 remarkable season (day after friggin' day!) by an irreplaceable captain, 2 lackluster seasons by highly-paid (and more highly-criticized) "sluggers"; 1 incredible utility man, 1 Venezuelan just three years younger than his fellow countryman coach; 1 solid effin' pitching staff
This year has been goddamn frustrating but I keep tuning in and tearing out [my hair] because I can't give up on these boys. I bought the MLB TV package on Opening Day and watched at work while the Sox surged to a 14-0 lead. Dunn had two hits and four RBI; TCQ with three and five; Paulie, AJ, Gordon and the Rook had multiple hits... I remember saying to my douchebag Philly-fan boss, "this team is going to score a LOT of runs this year." Boy was I fooled. The Orioles have scored more runs than us, all of the AL except for the Twinkies have a better home record and we're paying $14M per year to a guy whose K total might eclipse his batting average, BUT!....
We're in this thing. And here's how I see it playing out....
Psych!..[not so] quick intro/bio first (scroll down if you don't care):
Just a couple weeks ago I stumbled on SSS after investing an ungodly amount of newly-unemployed time on California Golden Blogs trying to hype myself (and find something to distract me during the last few weeks) for the upcoming college football season. I found the SBN format incredibly addictive and eventually realized that there was had to be a Sox site. I've since spent that time reading the posts and comments here and I'm overwhelmed with the amount of interaction this site displays. I thought CGB was a solid blog, after seeing that the Stanfurd equivalent rarely elicits even double-digit comments, but the common 100+ comments on SSS shows the true dedication of Sox fans.
I'm a Northern California native and the first in my family not born in Greece or the south side of Chicago. My grandpa owned a restaurant in Chicago and soaped up the windows in '59 so they could drink inside for the Series because he didn't have a liquor license. I wore #13 in Little League in the early 90s, collected all of Big Hurt's cards and I own a copy of the 2005 MLB Playoffs DVD as well as the following year's edition of the Baseball Encyclopedia with a cover adorned with White Sox celebration. I've gone to at least two White Sox games each year when they come to Oakland since 2002 (and saw all three vs the Giants in 2008). I love the Sox...okay, just had to get that out.
The real topic:
Monday's 3-0 win was huge. Not only because we gained a game on De-twah, not just because it was a W over an inferior divisional rival, but because the Sox did what they're supposed to do and are continuing a trend that has been stalled all to often this season. They didn't do what they've done throughout year...blow it. We went up 1-0 early (I've seen this), our starter kept the opposing team's offense in check (kept 'em from much of anything...I've seen this), we added some insurance a little later (yep, seen it) and then our bullpen came in and
gave up a 2-run bomb to tie it up shut 'em down, gave up no hits, no walks and recorded a save. Oh, you mean, how it's supposed to work? Cool.. now THAT was an enjoyable game to watch.
Sunday was a display of power backed by Floyd's great outing; Saturday, Danks went the distance and is 6-1 in 11 starts since starting 0-8; Friday, Peavy was on point. Starters have given up two total runs in their first six innings over the last four days- zero in the last three. Is this team poised to make a playoff run? I think so.
When I've read through White Sox threads this year (until discovering SSS), I've seen excitement quelled with cautious optimism, that optimism shot down by raw statistics, those statistics reminding me that my hopes of October Sox ball are slim. But now we've got a winning streak going! Four in a row (for just the fourth time this season while a W today will match our season-high), hitters hitting, Dunn sitting, Rios batting clean-up? Well at least he's fixed that silly hand-lift thing that Joe Buck assured me last year had helped him with his timing. Regardless, Lilli has more HRs than Dunn (boy, they get out in a hurry don't they?) and he can play anywhere except the bump and behind the dish, De Aza and Flowers are showing that they're going to be future faces of the Sox, Paulie continues to earn his 16,000-square-foot house in Scottsdale (thanks, Hawk...glad management told you to stop saying that) and we all wait to see see if Viciedo can continue to contribute. The next 30 days hold a lot... I believe it's called a playoff run.
vs. Minn: we need to complete the sweep. Tuesday, Zach wlll go out there strong, no doubt, he just needs some run-support (we'll see if Dunn is in against the RHP. He shouldn't be.. with PK back at first, no reason not to put the hot call-up in the DH spot to see if he can go 2/3 again). Wednesday, Paulie goes yard against Diamond, so does Lilli, who plays first while PK DHs and Dayan gets a break after three days in a row. Thursday, day off.
@ Det: arguably the biggest series of the year. We come in 69-65 after the Twinkie sweep and face a 75-63 club that is scurred of the Pale Hose. Friday we face Verlander so this one is up to the bats. Danks gives up 4 or 5 over 6 innings and we just keep our fingers crossed that we score 9. Saturday, Penny gets lit up, Sunday, Scherzer gets rocked- we take the series 2-1.
Monday, September 5: DET 76-65 CHW 71-66
@ Minn: Take the first in the doubleheader 8-4 but the bats are tired in the evening game and we drop a close one 3-1. We win the next two and redeem ourselves from a terrible start against the Hostess product. Detroit, meanwhile, scrapes out only one win in Cleveland, with two in the series going into extras.
Thursday, September 8: DET 77-67 CHW 74-67
vs. Cle: Cleveland takes the first one 5-4 with a late game rally but the extra innings games the series before catch up them and they fail to score any runs over the next three games! De-twah and the Twinkies beat up on eatch other but Minnesota takes two of three. The Bears beat the Falcons 24-13. Jay Cutler throws no interceptions.
Monday, Sptember 12: DET 78-69 CHW 77-68
vs Det: Sweep. Bats are hot, pitching superb.
Thursday, September 15: CHW 80-68 DET 78-72
@ KC: Tough road trip here but we split 2-2 while the Kittens have a rough, rough time in Oaktown and go 2-2 as well.
Monday, September 19: CHW 82-70 DET 80-74
Fuck I'm tired, almost made it though.. we go .667 the rest of the way while the Kittens go .500 and we make the playoffs only to lose to the Red Sox in the ALDS. Shit.
At least we make the playoffs!