After last night, the window for the 2011 White Sox closed a little bit more. While I still think there is an opportunity for the boys to make the magic happen and enter the post season, with each passing day that hope slowly fades. These past two games have been absolutely atrocious. On Wednesday, the whole Ozzie in full sabotage mode ordeal took a lot of the wind out of my sail, as did the brutal Jake Peavy start. After the Tigers loss to the Royals on Thursday, some of that hope came back. I looked forward to last evenings game all day, and like Wednesday it was over before I got comfortable. Alejandro De Aza couldn't squeeze a long drive and John Danks couldn't limit the damage and the Sox found themselves in a 3-0 hole early. Most of us knew right then that the ballgame was over. I watched a little while longer as the Tigers scored 5 more times before I finally got upset enough to do the unthinkable. I handed the remote over to my wife. We proceeded to watch a Dateline NBC murder special, and surprisingly enough, that wasn't as sad as the Sox game was.
For all of the times we have said "today is a must win game"... today actually is a must win game. They cannot afford to drop this series to the Tigers, especially when Brad Penny is on the bump. Penny is 9-10 with an ERA of 5.07. He is 3-0 with a 2.89 ERA against the Sox this year. That is inexcusable, but we should be used to that. Many of the Sox performances this year have been inexcusable. With the pitching that has been out there for us all year, it is a travesty that they are one game above .500. You just don't get pitching like this very often. Mark Buehrle has been outstanding. The bullpen has been on shutdown mode for the last 4 months. This year should have went so much differently.
We all should be used to such disappointment. In my lifetime there have been plenty of seasons that could make you feel sick. In 1984, the Sox went from 99 wins to 74 and finished in 5th place. In 1991, the Sox dropped from 94 wins to 87. In 1994, the strike cost us a playoff birth, and potentially a World Series appearance, mostly due to our very own owner. The 1997 team picked up the biggest free agent on the market in Albert Belle and finished 80-81. The 2001 team, fresh off of a 95 win season, lost Frank Thomas early and ended up with 83 wins in 3rd place. The 2003 team should have been more successful, but finished a distant 2nd to the Twins. The 2006 team looked primed to repeat, but fell flat in the 2nd half and ended up with 90 wins- and a 3rd place finish.
This 2011 team is right there. Between the Alex Rios and Adam Dunn struggles, the Ozzie stuff, the Dayan situation, Williams playing a good game of hide and seek and the inability to have success for any extended amount of time, make this season rank very high on the list.
Is it possible to still fulfill our destiny and win this garbage division with pitching that could carry us through the postseason? Sure, it is possible. The 1995 Mariners were 6 games back on September 12th and were tied by September 20th. But any hope that I hold on to will disappear with one more Brad Penny victory later on this afternoon.