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This isn't the first time Ozzie Guillen has seen his best player suffer a season-ending injury while fighting for a division title. It was 2004, Guillen's first year as a manager on the South Side, when Magglio Ordonez was lost for the year after colliding with Willie Harris on the field. That injury happened in the middle of May, and without Ordonez, the Sox simply didn't have enough offense to beat out the Twins for the division.
Could we be headed down the same road again, now that MVP candidate Carlos Quentin is likely done for 2008? Possibly, but as the Sox enter the week with a 2.5 game lead over the Twins and just 20 games left to play, they'll have no excuses this time. There's still enough offensive firepower to make the playoffs, but to do it, some of this year's most expensive dead weight will have to start hitting.
It comes down to three players: Paul Konerko, Ken Griffey Jr., and Nick Swisher.
It starts with Konerko, the captain, who has done enough wrong this year to almost - almost - make Sox fans forget about that World Series grand slam. This is the second straight season Konerko has disappointed, and don't forget he still has two seasons remaining on that five-year, $60 million contract he signed after 2005. But the captain has started to come around a tad lately, hitting homers in three consecutive games and raising his OPS to .775.
Swisher's first season on the Sox has been underwhelming as well. Swisher's tremendous plate patience makes him valuable regardless, but the Sox had to expect more from their top off-season acquisition than a .228 batting average.
Then there is Junior, who should man Quentin's vacated left field slot. Though Quentin was no Gold Glover in the field, there will still be a big drop off defensively with Griffey in the lineup every day. He'll need to hit for power to hold onto that spot, which is something he hasn't done since arriving in Chicago. Junior came here with a respectable 103 OPS +, but has hit just one homer since joining the Sox.
Most people look at those three names and think it would make for a solid middle of the lineup. Instead, the Sox just need them to replace the production of one man. Unfortunately for the Sox, it will be harder than it sounds.
Week in Review: Quentin's injury is the most upset I've been about something in sports since the Bears lost the Super Bowl in January of 2007. Don't worry, though, I'm sure Quentin's wrist will be fine in September two years from now, when it won't really matter.
Week in Preview: Four against Toronto, three against Detroit. Can we just fast forward to the September 23 series at Minnesota?
Fields on the Farm: We've said it before, but man, is it weird to know the Sox are sitting Fields in favor of Juan Uribe. Will Fields even be this team's third baseman next year? I thought only Cubs prospects flash brilliance before falling off the face of the Earth.
The Missile Tracker: How about moving Alexei up in the lineup without Q? No one has come up with more clutch hits this year, and it'd be nice to add a dash of speed to the lowest top of the order in baseball history.
Over/Under: 7: The Sox's spot in Phil Rogers' latest power rankings. Seems a tad high without Q, no?
Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The White Sox Report staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has decided that Joe Crede can have those back issues somewhere else next season.
The White Sox Report: Read 'em all.
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