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So it's come to this. Sweep a superior team or all is lost. Or is it?
No, it is.
Now, there are a lot of ways to look at this week.
The Sox could dominate the Twins and set the record straight, once and for all, about who is the mightiest team in flyover country, sending those hated rivals into a season-crushing death spiral.
Or the Sox could take two, just enough to hang on and leave us to spend the next three weeks rooting our wretched guts out for the Tigers and Royals.
Or the Sox could simply roll over and die, conceding the division to a team that doesn't really deserve it but in the end is really only playing for the right to fly a low-rent flag and get crushed by the inferior of two juggernauts out of the East.
But any of these overlook the uglier, sadder truth of it, and one that may ultimately be the only way for the team to punch its ticket to October: for better or worse, the Sox are only here because of themselves. In the early stages, when they played the worst baseball we have seen since . . . well, since more recently than we'd like to admit, they dug not just a hole but a 25-man grave. In the middle, when they decimated the National League and the soft parts of the American League, they found new life by reducing the hated rivals to also-rans. And in the final act, we've seen a team slightly patched but also exposed, its weaknesses magnified and its strengths arriving too late at worst, in the nick of time at best.
In short, the Sox have only come this far because they, for a moment, turned someone else into the Sox. From here, all they can do is prove which of those three teams was the true 2010 White Sox, horrid at worst, untouchable at best, but most likely an aching, non-spectacular in-between. We all kind of know what will happen - but only kind of. They've surprised us before, and if they really insist they can outdo themselves, this would be a fine time to prove it.
Week in Review: Futile. Drop three to the Tigers and take two from the Royals for a 2-4 week to rule them all.
Week in Preview: Ultimate. Three against the Twins for all the marbles, followed by three against the Tigers for a million lesser prizes.
Hawkeroo's Can-O-Corn Watch: "Well, I've always found that two teams like Ron Gardenhire's Twins and our Sox, these are teams that just seem to come up with the right number of hits they need just when they need them, and that's why, for my money, this will be the best series in all of baseball this year, bar none. Bar none. Because you can look at the Braves, who our Sox swept, or the Yankees, who these Twins have beaten time and again in years past, at the Tampa Bay Rays, who our Sox really put up a fight against, and those are teams that know the winner of these games here, this week, that's the team that's going to be who they need to beat later. Now, if you were to tell me way back in May, back when the Good Guys weren't playing so well, that they'd be here, now, fighting for a shot at the playoffs, I'd have said 'That's exactly right,' because they are. And that's why you know Joe Girardi and Joe Maddon are so afraid of what happens here, because if our Sox win, you can bet they know they'll have a series on their hands."
Gordon Beckham Hall of Fame Update: Gordon Beckham second-season walks: 36 (and counting). Al Kaline second-season walks: 22. Advantage: Beckham.
Alumni News You Can Use: Jim Thome. Again. Damn it all to hell.
The "H" in "DH" Stands For: "How in the world," as in "How in the world can Manny Ramirez hit .294 with no extra-base hits and no runs driven in? That's downright Teahenian!"
The Q Factor: Perfectly still and in perfect silence, he tells himself. Strike not when I can, but when I must, but know as well the hour of action, of judgment, of deliverance and damnation, is nigh.
Endorsement No-Brainer: Swedish glam-metal outfit Europe for the 2010 edition of the Sox-Twins rivalry: it's the final countdown.
Cubs Snub: Let us all offer up sacrifice and mockery, for today is the annual Feast of North Side Elimination.
The White Sox Report: Read 'em all.
The Cub Factor: It's funny because it's true.
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