After a week that saw the White Sox play a better game of baseball against two playoff contenders in the Miami Marlins and Cleveland Indians, they reminded fans on Friday night how horrible they can perform. The type of loss that just doesn't send fans in the seats home early, but also has them at home tune out until the offseason begins.
How did it get this bad? When did this season change for the worst?
There are quite a few games to choose. Any from the series in Kansas City from May 27th - 29th could suffice. The series against Atlanta before the all-star game, or even after the all-star game when the White Sox forgot to show up in Anaheim. All very good choices.
I would like to direct your attention back to May 9th, 2016, which is now the pinnacle of this White Sox 2016 season.Chicago won 8-4 in large thanks to a 12th inning grand slam from Todd Frazier after David Robertson couldn't close out the game. A dramatic win that put the White Sox at 23-10 with a 6.5 game lead in the AL Central. At that point, the White Sox were on a 90-win pace according to ZiPS, which seemed entirely attainable because it required the team to play .500 level quality for the remaining 129 games.
The next night, fortunes changed. Perhaps it was the 78 minutes rain delay in the second inning that caused it.
It was the game that the White Sox couldn't hold on to an 11-6 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth. When reliever Matt Albers, who had only allowed one earned run in 15.2 IP at that point, gave up the game-winning three-run homer to Ryan Rua in the 13-11 loss.
Since May 9th when the White Sox were on top of the American League, here are the standings in Major League Baseball.
Lady luck left the White Sox the night on May 10th. Decided that the Rangers were a more attractive team, and she has remained faithful to them. Since May 9th, the Rangers run differential is 0 despite being 20 games above .500 in this time span. Their Pythagorean record is 63-60, yet they are overachieving by 10 games. If the season were to end today, the Rangers would have home field advantage throughout the American League playoffs and World Series.
Maybe White Sox fans can find a time machine and hope for a better result, but that would require them to watch more Matt Albers. As the past 88 games have gone, I don't think we deserve that type of punishment.