Sunday, August 7, 2011

Are they In? Are they Out? Or are White Sox destined to be an 81-81 ballclub?

It’s days like Sunday that can be maddening for a fan of a professional baseball club.

The Chicago White Sox managed to defeat the Minnesota Twins 7-0, with pitcher Jake Peavy showing why he was once the best pitcher in the National League (Cy Young Award, 2007) and what he could still be for the White Sox.

THAT VICTORY COMPLETED a three-game sweep of the Twins in their own Minneapolis stadium. Typically, beating up on a division rival would be a significant step toward winning their division title for this season.

But this three-game series victory comes right after the White Sox GOT swept in a four-game series by the New York Yankees, which came right after losing two games of a three-game series to the Boston Red Sox.

People were all too ready to write off the White Sox as dead for this season.

Now, some people are going to speculate that perhaps there’s still life in the baseball corpse at 35th and Shields (although to be honest, the only reason the 55-58 White Sox are in contention is because their American League Central division is weak).

IF THE WHITE Sox do win their division and qualify for the playoffs come October, they will still deserve to be the first team knocked out of post-season play.

If anything, it is the maddening aspect of 2011 that will be remembered – the year in which slugger Adam Dunn (who was supposed to be the big bat that ensured this would be a championship season) is likely to have the worst hitting season ever for a regular, every-day ballplayer (a batting average as of Sunday of .163 with only 11 home runs, rather than about 30).

Just as watching last week when the White Sox won a series against the division-leading Detroit Tigers, then took the first game against the Red Sox. It looked like this was the beginning of the surge that would put them into the lead, and general manager Ken Williams made comments about how there would NOT be any last-minute trades to jettison salary).

Then came the losing.

OR PERHAPS IT was like back in June when beating up on the Cubs put the White Sox at a perfect .500 won-loss record. That, too, was the beginning of a losing streak.

So what do we have to look forward to this season? A perpetual fight to reach .500? Will we literally end 2011 with a final-week winning streak that brings the ballclub to a perfect record of 81-81?

That would be even more maddening than the Chicago Cubs, who after going through two-thirds of the season looking like they wouldn’t have a single three-game winning streak actually managed last week to win seven games in a row.

But at 49-66, the Cubs make the Kansas City Royals look good.

IT ALL HAS me waiting for the winter leagues.

The thought of beisbol being played in November and December in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela sounds appealing, while wondering if White Sox spare outfielder Alejandro de Aza (a .308 batting average with 1 home run and 2 runs batted in during 26 major league at-bats this season) will once again play ball in the Dominican League.


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