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By Andrew Reilly
Are the White Sox the worst team in baseball? As of this writing, the South Siders have scored fewer runs than every other team in the American League while allowing the fifth-fewest. This suggests two things:
1. The Sox are not that good.
2. The Sox don't lose a lot of close games.
We already knew the first part, but the second part suggests reason for optimism: if they're at least keeping games close, it stands to reason they at least have a chance to win them. Indeed, the Good Guys are a not-entirely-terrible 4-5 in one-run games, which at least indicates competitive spirit, but posits the Sox as a team capable of standing its ground in the nailbiters yet dropping 16 of the other 27 games. To put it another way: the Sox are bad at good baseball but awful at terrible baseball. That might be the most depressing sports-related sentence I have ever typed.
It's odd, because there have been worse Sox teams than this in my sporting lifetime, and there have been insufferably worse stretches than this; stretches lasting not ten games but ten weeks. Yet, this year's edition stings more because this was all supposed to be so easy. The AL Central was supposed to be the .500-takes-all division won by the mightiest softball team in the league before Memorial Day. Instead, here we are all wondering to ourselves if anyone will trade for Jim Thome, Bobby Jenks, Jermaine Dye, Southpaw or that guy who sells the bootleg t-shirts just east of the viaduct over 35th.
The Sox, all 15 wins and 21 losses of them, sit only five games behind a Detroit team playing over its head and a Kansas City team that's still a Kansas City team. To look up and down the division standings, you can't find a single team to really be afraid of - no one who exudes that kind of savvy that puts everyone else on notice. And yet, therein we find the subtlest, cruelest jab of 2009 White Sox baseball: there is plenty to look up to in the standings, but not really much room for looking down. The Tigers, Royals and Twins may all be lousy, but the Sox at this moment are even worse and, after that trip to Cleveland, even the basement-dwelling Indians can have a laugh at their expense.
So are the Sox the worst team in baseball? No, not yet. They only stink when they have to.
Week in Review: Abysmal. The only way to top a 1-6 stretch would be to go 0-7 - no impossible task, as the Sox face nothing but superior teams until June 5.
Week in Preview: Hatred followed by nervous despair. Assuming they make it out of Toronto alive (the Good Guys haven't won even a single game there since June 1, 2007; Jerry Owens went 2-for-4 that magical afternoon), three games against the Twins at least give the Sox a chance to claw their way back to respectability within the division. The Sox follow the Twins series with a visit from the Pirates to kick off interleague play. Perpetually terrible as they are, the Bucs are doing better than the Sox right now. Then again, so is pretty much everyone else.
That's Ozzie!: "Tomorrow, I'm going to play [Harold] Baines, Joey Cora and Greg Walker. We might have a better chance."
The Guillen Meter: They lost two miserable games in his absence, but lost 15 others just like them while Ozzie was still in town. The Guillen Meter reads 7 for "hostile, yet ultimately indifferent, possibly with a joke about not losing his job to Joey Cora."
Alumni News You Can Use: Aaron Rowand hit a solo shot off of Johan Santana in the Giants' 9-6 loss to the Mets Saturday, marking Rowand's first bomb off Santana in seven years. Oh, and some guy on the Twins is having back problems or something. Shocking.
Hawkeroo's Can-O-Corn Watch: Carlos Gomez comes to town this week with the Twins. In the Hawk Harrelson non sequitur playbook, Gomez ranks just above Darrin Erstad and just below the time Hawk invented the batting glove, which ought to give this week's broadcasts the nausea-inducing powers of a thousand open sewers.
Endorsement No-Brainer: Chris Getz for Miller High Life. Good honest bunt attempts at a tasty price.
Cubs Snub: Abandon Kerry Wood, acquire Kevin Gregg, hinder Carlos Marmol. Three moves, zero closers. That's a Cubs bullpen strategy anyone could love.
The White Sox Report: Read 'em all!
The Cub Factor: Know your enemy.
Andrew Reilly is the managing editor of The 35th Street Review and a contributor to many fine publications.More from Beachwood Sports »
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Posted on May 22, 2020