As two epic streaks end, another, less important one begins: the Sox snapped an eight-game skid by scraping one out over the Royals, and Joey Gathright snapped Bobby Jenks’ 41 consecutive retired batters streak.
Great. Woo-hoo. Back into a tie for last. Awesome. Go Sox.
So now what? What do we possibly have to root for? At this point, after flushing the season down the toilet and seeing no real trades of immediate consequence go down, why should we bother watching? At best, we’ve got three reasons – and only one of them is remotely positive.
The 2008 Amateur Draft: Right now, the Sox are eight games up on the league-wide basement-dwelling Devil Rays. That’s a lot of ground to lose with just over five weeks left in the season. Although the Sox have fewer games against contenders between now and then (Sox: 16 [4 vs. Boston, 3 vs. Cleveland, 6 vs. Detroit, 3 vs. LAA]; D-Rays: 20 [8 vs. Boston, 6 Vs. NYY, 4 vs. Seattle, 3 vs. LAA]), the September callups could only serve to weaken an already AAA-level Sox squad. So that #1 pick might not be so out of reach.
The Century Club: The Chicago White Sox have lost 100 or more games in a season as many times as they have won the World Series – 1932, 1948 and 1970 for the former, 1906, 1917, and 2005 for the latter. To do it again, the Good Guys would need to go 7-31 from here on out. Is this out of the realm of possibility? While it’s true the rest of the schedule has only three playoff-caliber teams waiting, it’s also true there are only four games remaining against teams with a worse record than the Sox (1 vs. Tampa Bay, 3 vs. Texas). Can the Sox win no more than 1 of every 5 games against the likes of Minnesota, Detroit, Cleveland and Los Angeles when they’re playing for their postseason lives – especially when the roster is rounded out once more by the triumphant return of the likes of Brian Anderson, Andrew Cisco, David Aardsma and Andy Gonzalez? It’s not impossible, friends. Not impossible at all.
Thome’s Homies: Finally, something to feel good about in a non-spiteful way. The big man is sitting on 492 home runs right now. Thirty-eight games remain – we’ll conservatively estimate he plays 33 of those with an average of 3 at-bats per game. That’s 99 more chances for 8 home runs, or hitting one out every 12.375 at-bats, while #25 is averaging one every 15.75 times up. It sounds like long odds, but if Thome subscribes to my way of thinking on the rest of the year, he’ll forget about useless things like moving over the batter or getting a double. I want moon-shot swings on every pitch. I want an 0-2 count to be treated no differently than 3-1. I want Ozzie Guillen to have exactly one sign during Thome’s time at the plate: a huge poster with “HIT IT ONTO THE DAN RYAN” written in giant block letters. For that matter, let’s see Thome batting leadoff the rest of the year to maybe give him an extra trip to the plate every night.
This probably sounds stupid and counterproductive, and in many ways it is. So what? What’s the worst that could happen? – last place? Triple-digit losses? Struggling against the juggernaut that is the Kansas City Royals?
Let’s laugh. Let’s cry. This will all be over soon enough.