It took the White Sox three and a half hours to lose on Sunday, so you can't even say 'at least it was quick.'
When the Sox left Baltimore on Monday, losers of 3 out of 4 to the lowly O's, we felt dejected but noted there was plenty of baseball left to be played. It was only one series after all. Surely the reappearance of the April-May Sox was just a one series engagement.
But here we are two series later, two series losses later. Blown leads. Inconsistent offense. Routine plays botched in the Field. These Sox don't resemble the team we got used to in June and July.
Taking it in the nuts today was Freddy Garcia (AGAIN), Andruw Jones and J.J. Putz. Garcia is pitching exactly as most of us expected. If anything, he gave us more Good Freddy than even the most optimistic forecasters predicted. Most thought he would give the Sox about a half-season of effective pitching before being replaced... by Daniel Hudson, who's no longer around. With Peavy's injury and Hudson's departure, there's not exactly much on the farm to replace Garcia.
In fact, the Sox will probably have to tap that well (Carlos Torres or Erik Threets) when they eventually put Bobby Jenks and his ailing back on the DL.
Putz, fresh off of allowing a game-winning 2-run HR to earn the blown save on Saturday, got some help from Jones to make it back-to-back blown saves on the weekend. This time it was Jones turning the wrong way on Johnny Damon's deep drive that resulted in 2 runs, lead blown. But that wasn't enough, on the very next batter Jones dropped a routine play to allow yet another run across.
Those runs would seem momentarily meaningful when Jones lead off the next inning with a HR. But when Tony Pena and Keystone Kops defense made an appearance in the ninth, they removed all hope at another comeback.
The Sox are now 3 games behind the Twins for the first time since June 23rd. They've lost 3 straight series, looking like dookie in all three, and have to go on the road for another key series with the Twins this week.
No, the season isn't over based on the last 10 games, but it might be in another 3. Anything less than a series win in Minnesota and the Sox would seem to have eliminated themselves the span of two weeks.