Fighting desperately for a spot in the playoffs against division rivals Detroit and Minnesota, the Chicago White Sox were looking forward to a visit from the AL West-bottom-feeding Seattle Mariners this weekend. The expectation was that the four-game series against Seattle would help the Sox get their postseason campaign back on track.
However, if the past is prologue, Chicago fans should have predicted that their team – which stumbled against god-awful squads like Kansas City and Tampa Bay in recent weeks – would falter against the weak Mariners and pretty much blow any shot they might have had at making the playoffs this year.
Oh sure, they haven’t been “mathematically” eliminated yet, just like South Siders who buy 50 lottery tickets on payday aren’t mathematically eliminated from winning the Powerball until the pretty lady reads the numbers on WGN that evening. And the Sox did split the series with the Mariners, so they didn’t technically lose.
But it was certainly a defeat for Chicago. To begin things, Seattle blanked the Sox in the opener on Thursday night. The sad thing was that pitcher Javier Vazquez actually had a pretty good start, holding the Mariners to three runs before being “relieved” in the eighth. But an AWOL offense and a bungling bullpen led to a 9-0 thrashing.
The next game was hardly better. Sox starter Jose Contreras continued his epic slide into utter haplessness by giving up five runs in the first inning. Chicago managed to shrink Seattle’s lead to just a run in the fifth, but the team couldn’t sustain its comeback, and the Mariners pulled away to take an 11-6 victory.
This recap could go into the two Sox wins that followed – their rain-delay rally on Saturday, Paul Konerko’s two-homer game on Sunday – but really, what’s the point?
For their part, South Siders have already come to terms with the fact that unless a fiery meteor hits Minneapolis sometime in the next couple of days, the defending World Series champs won’t be in the playoffs this year.
For instance, Englewood short-order cook Jorge Chavez submitted his own unique spin on the mantra of Cubs supporters (and Grinder Ball Rule #69 – look it up if you’re a White Sox fan and aren’t projectile vomiting, but wish you were):
“There’s always last year.”
Number of the Weekend: 2
Combination of Twins victories and/or White Sox losses that will officially eliminate Chicago from playoff contention.