Sunday, August 13, 2006

Finally, White Sox All They Need To Do

Alex Cintron had a big day for the Chicago White Sox. The Sox regular short stop, Juan Uribe, had been complaining of nagging injuries, so Cintron has been getting a fair amount of playing time. He started the third game against the Detroit Tigers with a first inning triple, and scored from third on a sacrifice fly from Paul Konerko. In the second inning, he doubled with the bases loaded to drive in three more. This put the Sox up 4-1, and they didn't look back, eventually winning 7-3.

The real news isn't that the White Sox swept the Tigers to pull to 5.5 games back in the division. The real news is that for the first time this season the White Sox did all that was necessary for them to gain an advantage in a playoff hunt. The real baseball season starts after the All Star break, and it was in that time the Sox reached their nadir. Some days it looked like they'd never win again. But they had a road trip a couple of weeks ago that started with the Baltimore Orioles and the Kansas City Royals. They won both series, but against those teams, they really should have had one sweep. They didn't quite do all they needed to do.

And even though the team started playing better, one could still see the hints of the bad play that had sent their season reeling after the break. A starter would do well, but the bull pen would let the starter down. A starter would be doing poorly, but the offense would pick that day to fall apart. The offense would do well, but the pitchers couldn't get an out they needed to hold the lead. Even when they won, there was a sense that it was a close thing, and the next win might be a long way off.

Finally, this weekend, the team as a whole did what was required to have at least a chance in the division: they swept the Tigers, the team with the best record in baseball. Kansas City comes to Chicago tomorrow, while the Tigers go to Boston for the Red Sox. Chicago has a good chance to pick up one more game this week. They'll next face the Tigers a week from tomorrow, in Detroit for four games. They could conceivably be playing for the division lead.

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