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posted: 9/2/2012 10:44 PM

Ugly trip doesn't seal Sox' fate

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This series wasn't exactly pretty.

Truth be told, it lacked a bit of personality, too.

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But it is not, White Sox fans, the end of the world.

The Sox had just about as bad a road trip as possible -- winless would have been worse -- and they're still in first place.

Detroit is now tied atop the AL Central after completing another sweep of the South Siders behind Justin Verlander, who was appropriately spectacular Sunday night in a 4-2 victory.

It doesn't look good or feel too pleasant today after the last week of baseball, but at no point this season has Detroit really looked like a team that can run away from the White Sox.

That might change, of course, but so far there's no evidence through five months of baseball to suggest it will.

The Tigers have issues, lots of them, which means -- based on what they've done -- that rather than stay hot, they are more likely to have their own miserable week when they get Cleveland at home and travel to Los Angeles next weekend, before returning to Chicago next week for a four-game series that may very well decide the division.

So while the Sox appear more flawed now than they have at any point this season, they have had these flaws at every point this season. They've simply managed to disguise them, and the Tigers have helped by playing a lot of sloppy baseball.

But there's nothing new here that you didn't already know.

The starting rotation has been and continues to be a concern, the bullpen is young, and the offense relies on the home run and only the home run.

Still, the Sox have made it this far in first place and don't figure to go away because of one bad week of baseball.

Before leaving on the trip, Paul Konerko said as much.

"It's seven games on the schedule and I think all the games are important, and at the same time no one game or week of the season decides your season,'' Konerko said. "Hopefully we'll play well on the trip and we'll also get good results.

"But I've said all year that all you can do is play the way you play, play good games, and then you just hope for the best. The results are going to be what the results are going to be.''

The results were bad on the trip, but that's a result of some bad baseball. The starters walked too many batters and the hitting was atrocious.

That adds up to a 1-6 trip after Verlander defeated Chris Sale, who got himself into trouble with too many walks and a breaking ball he couldn't throw for strikes.

Actually, the 3-run homer by Delmon Young -- who also had a huge 3-run double Friday -- was another slider out of the strike zone that Young golfed just over the left-field fence for the game-winner.

It wasn't a bad pitch, wasn't even a hittable pitch for most guys, but the Sox didn't catch many breaks on the swing through Baltimore and Detroit and probably didn't deserve many.

And none of it has any bearing on the next 29 games. It doesn't mean the Sox will go to pieces, and it doesn't mean Detroit will enjoy a great week before facing the Sox in Chicago.

While many can't recall the feeling, this is what it's like being in a pennant race in September.

It's certain to be a roller-coaster ride the rest of the way.

Hop off -- or buckle up.

brozner@dailyherald.com

•Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM, and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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