Sadly, White Sox history repeating
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Remember the 2001 season? Coming off a Central Division championship, the White Sox boasted a monstrous offense.
Kenny Williams, in his first off-season as general manager, dealt for ace David Wells to plug the team's only perceived weakness. Almost everyone pegged the Sox as something special.
To quote the summation from Sports Illustrated's preseason story: "... a trip to the World Series is the only reasonable goal for a team coming off a 95-win season."
That prediction became horribly outdated while the magazine sat on the newsstand.
By the end of play on May 2, the 2001 Sox already trailed Cleveland by 10½ games.
After falling as much as 15½ games out of the lead, those Sox rallied after it was far too late and finished with an 83-79 record that left them 8 games behind the Indians.
You can see where this is headed, right?
After Sunday's 6-4 loss to Baltimore at U.S. Cellular Field, this year's Sox trail Cleveland by 10 games heading into play on May 2.
It might not feel like it's late, what with 82 percent of the season left to go, but didn't Yogi Berra once say "It gets late early out there?"
"Out there" is the U.S. Cellular Field moonscape.
But because there were a few buds of positivity Sunday — Gordon Beckham enjoyed his first 2-hit game since April 8 and Adam Dunn slugged a pinch homer — Ozzie Guillen intends to be the gardener who continues to see the flowers through the weeds.
Here's Ozzie before the game (and before he called a brief team meeting to tell the fellas to keep plugging away):
"There's no way we're going to play this bad any longer. There's no way. We do everything on the field we could to be terrible. Now it's our time for the balls to bounce our way."
Here's Ozzie after the White Sox went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position Sunday:
Q: Is it relevant, Ozzie, that you're so far back so early in the springtime?
"Yeah," he said. "I'm not panicking, but I'd rather be 2 games out or 2 games up. But nothing you can do about it.
Now you can see looking forward and think positive and hopefully good things coming up."
Things looked awful for six innings Sunday.
Starting with his first two pitches of the game — which Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis roped to the outfield — Sox starter Gavin Floyd surrendered at least seven rocket shots.
He emerged mostly unscathed until the fifth, when he coughed up 5 runs and the Sox fell behind 6-0. Boos were as plentiful as empty seats.
But Brent Lillibridge crushed a solo shot 414 feet in the fifth. The Sox squeezed 1 run out of a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the seventh.
In the eighth, Dunn blasted a twp-out, 2-run pinch homer that inspired his young son (attired identically to Dad) to let out a primal scream and jump around in the family's suite.
And when Alexei Ramirez and Carlos Quentin reached to open the ninth, Ozzie's prediction that it was the Sox' time seemed destined to come true.
Then Paul Konerko struck out without swinging. Then Alexis Rios struck out looking and got ejected after getting into plate umpire Cory Blaser's face.
A.J. Pierzynski's weak grounder wrapped up their 15th loss in 18 games.
"That's how these things are," Konerko said. "If we were always getting the hit, then you'd be winning games and everything would be fine.
"But there's reasons why you lose and you've just got to keep grinding. At some point, it'll turn. It will."
You know, like it did for the 2001 Sox.
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