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Winning seven in a row means picking up half a game, neither the Sox nor Twins can rattle off their respective winning streaks forever and this, I think, is going to be the sad, lonely dance of September: the Sox will win just enough to go nowhere. What else could the state of White Sox baseball possibly point to?
Now, it could be that the Twins are just having a bit of a lucky streak here. They're not going to play the Royals every day and won't always benefit from nonsensical umpiring calls going their way. They can't expect Jim Thome to make the highlight reel every time up, nor can Carl Pavano possibly be as good as advertised.
But as fun as it is to write off the competition (and believe me, it's fun), we have to also admit that everything true about the Twins is also true about the White Sox. One or two players on fire coupled with a past-his-prime Cleveland Indian do not a solid team make, and yet here we sit ready to write off Thome's Twins while calling Manny's Sox the real deal because . . . well, because that's what people do. Our arms pitching over their heads are the work of another Don Cooper miracle; theirs are smoke and mirrors. Our unlikely sweeps in hostile enemy territory are the expected handiwork of the Team of Destiny; theirs are just aberrations to be ignored in the larger scheme of things.
The sad part though, is that the Twins aren't doing anything special, or at least nothing more special than the Sox. Lose a ton here, win a ton there, score a bunch of runs, have weird things happen and call it a day. One of these teams won't keep winning at the rate they have lately, but it's hard to say the other will, either. And thus, the awkward sprint to the finish begins.
Week in Review: Immortal. Sweep the Tribe, sweep the BoSox, and take the first from the Tigers for a week that refuses to die.
Week in Preview: Malty. Three more in Detroit followed by three at home against the Royals.
Hawkeroo's Can-O-Corn Watch: "That's one thing that's proven to be more true over time, is that teams coming into September down a two or three games, those are the teams that tend to go on and make the playoffs, because those are the teams that find ways to win the games that need to be won. You look at a team like Detroit, Kansas City, even our Sox who, by most counts, are in first place anyway, and those are the teams the other teams are scared of, because if you're someone like Tampa Bay or Atlanta, you know the Tigers or Sox are going to find a way to beat you right now down the stretch, which is the best time for teams to win games because when it comes time for the playoffs and World Series, you're not going to find a lot of teams that necessarily won the most, but just the teams that knew they had to get to that place."
Gordon Beckham Hall of Fame Update: Gordon Beckham hit-by-pitch through 224 games: 13. Mickey Mantle hit-by-pitch through 224 games: 0, thus proving Beckham to be an infinitely more intimidating batter than Mickey Mantle ever was.
Alumni News You Can Use: Former South Side lumberjack Jim Thome helped the Twins assert their dominance Monday in more ways than we will ever understand.
The "H" in "DH" Stands For: Hair, as in where the continually dreadlocked Manny Ramirez must be storing his relative might.
The Q Factor: He walks to the podium to face the assembled press of Motor City. "Tigers are believed to have descended from wooly mammoths," he says. "Did you know that?" The audience members all shake their heads. "Of course you didn't," he says, "because I just made that up. But you believed me, didn't you?" The audience then responds in the affirmative. "Remember this," he says. "Remember this moment where you learned my words are stronger than your collective will. See you on the ballfield."
The Guillen Meter: His team maddeningly treading water, the Guillen Meter reads 3.5 for "I'll slit their throats if it means we can finally gain a game."
Endorsement No-Brainer: AC/DC for the race to the American League Central finish line: it's a long way to the top (if you wanna rock n' roll).
Cubs Snub: 18-5? Seriously? To the Mets?
The White Sox Report: Read 'em all.
The Cub Factor: It's funny because it's true.
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