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The White Sox Report

By Andrew Reilly

There was a time, oh, last week or so, when things were looking not quite up, but at least away. The Sox had won some games, the two teams ahead of them started to slip a little and in Charlotte they had both a recovering pitcher and the most loudly heralded prospect the club has seen in quite some time, both ready to arrive on the big stage and solve every crisis facing Soxland. It was as though the team had finally started moving in the right direction.

Instead, of course, we see now the team might not have been hitting their stride, but actually hitting their peak, as though sometime this October as we watch anyone else square off in the playoffs, we'll all be reduced to saying things like "Remember that one week in May where the Sox won a few games? That was awesome."

The thing is, we all knew this would happen: the good would always be matched fully by the bad and the arms would always work against the bats. There'd be some expected injuries and some unexpected ones as well, and as far back as last season, we knew we wouldn't get anything out of Jose Contreras until mid-June. We knew at some point the shortstop of the future might contribute. We knew at least one of the three big bats would struggle, and we knew even a halfway-decent showing by the back end of the rotation would be gravy.

So with all that in mind, is there really any reason to get upset over things like situational incompetence and horrific displays of non-offense against the worst pitchers in the American League?

All things considered, not really. If we saw their shortcomings so far in advance, it's hard to blame them for delivering exactly what we expected; perhaps the real crime is that, for a moment, they dared to deliver the totally unexpected, and we only made things worse for ourselves by wanting more. Perhaps we have entered some bizarre new stage of our relationship with the 2009 White Sox where the good times should be celebrated disproportionately as we fans adjust to the notion they will never, ever come back.

Except we tried that, and look where it got us.

Meanwhile, back on the South Side, it's mid-June and Contreras returns to the club this week while Gordon Beckham has zero hits in the major leagues. Those past 56 games? It's almost as if they never even happened.

Almost.

Week in Review: The only thing worse than dropping three of four to the abysmal A's would be to then drop two of three to the equally wretched Indians. The Sox, sadly, were more than capable of doing both.

Week in Preview: It seems early and presumptive to say things like "must-win" and "do or die" in mid-June, but the five-game series against the division-leading Tigers is just that. The Good Guys follow the set with the kittens with a trip to Milwaukee to face the other Central's current frontrunner. If a week against two last-place teams meant complete failure, we should probably all pray for rain. Or a league-mandated mercy contraction.

The Q Factor: Set to return from the disabled list Thursday, Carlos Quentin lies in wait like a coiled python ready to shoot poison into the veins of Detroit Tigers pitcher Edwin Jackson.

That's Ozzie!: "We don't know what to do. We've tried different lineups, we motivate people, we work hard, we try to be positive. Everything we try doesn't work."

The Guillen Meter: The team in the midst of a gruesome downward spiral, Guillen seems to have already accepted the Sox' fate as never-rans. The Guillen Meter reads 3 for "Whatever."

Underclassmen Update: Chris Getz' .248 average isn't really that good, but is currently good enough to "lead" all first-and-second year Sox.

Alumni News You Can Use: Former White Sox bullpen calamity Mike MacDougal has yet to allow a run since joining the Nationals and received a promotion to closer this week. Whether this says more about MacDougal or about the National League is open to debate.

Hawkeroo's Can-O-Corn Watch: The Sox haven't played the Brewers since 2001, putting Hawk in the unusual position of having to adopt a whole new set of idols from the opposition. Expect gobs of adoration for Ryan Braun for the obvious reasons, .262-hitting utility player Matt Gamel to get an Erstadian "He's not that great a player, but he might be the best player in the game" treatment, and the utmost reverence for the skills of non-spectacular right-hander Braden Looper as he makes the Sox look entirely hapless.

Endorsement No-Brainer: Gordon Beckham for the October 2000 issue of Wired magazine. The future is now.

Cubs Snub: Carlos Zambrano will allegedly retire after playing out his current contract with the Cubs, proving that even the people who love that team are counting down the days until they can get the hell away from it forever.

The White Sox Report: Read 'em all.

The Cub Factor: Know your enemy.

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The White Sox Report welcomes your comments.

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Andrew Reilly is the managing editor of The 35th Street Review and a contributor to many fine publications.

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