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updated: 9/30/2012 11:02 PM

Offense let White Sox down at worst possible time

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Q. The Sox had such a good start to the season, why did it all go so poorly down the stretch?

A. Before I answer that, I have to say that since I've been doing this job, the final home game of the season always has been a sad one.

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Mostly because you get used to hanging out at the ballpark for an entire summer, and there isn't much that's a whole lot better than a summer of baseball in person.

It's especially disappointing when you realize the team you've been following every day for six months and during spring training, will not be extending their season into the fall.

Actually, I take back what I said a moment ago. There isn't much that's a whole lot better than postseason baseball, and it's a shame that -- barring a hardball miracle -- we won't be seeing it in Chicago this year, particularly when there had been so much promise of it for so long.

So how did it end like this? Well, you've seen it for yourself. A disappearing offense at the worst possible time of the year is the prevalent reason the Sox find themselves in this position.

And it isn't as if they've gone without chances lately. All you have to do is look to Thursday's game against Tampa Bay with bases-loaded opportunities in consecutive innings.

Those situations produce only 2 runs, thanks to a double-play ball and a hit batter. Not the only example, and not good enough.

If a team can't hit with runners in scoring position, they aren't going to score a lot of runs. And unless that team has a lockdown pitching staff (like the Rays do), few runs per game will not produce a lot of wins.

Some will point to short outings from starting pitching and a surging number of walks issued, but the pitching has most definitely been overall strong enough to win games, thanks in large part to great long relief work.

However, the offense has scored more than 4 runs in a game just twice since Sept. 17, and those games represent 2 of the 4 wins the Sox have since that date.

That won't get it done.

Q. Despite the finish, do you consider this year to be a successful season?

A. I guess it depends on how "success" is defined. If it means that the White Sox exceeded preseason predictions, then, yes, it was successful season.

On the other hand, if success means that the postseason was the only acceptable outcome considering the 117 days of the year the team spent in first place, then, no, it was not a success.

And I'd guarantee that almost everyone in that clubhouse sees it exactly the same way.

The disappointment grows out of the knowledge that the division was there for the taking for so long and it would've taken just an adequate quality of baseball these last two weeks to put them in the postseason.

Winning only two of their last 12 games is exactly what they could not afford to do.

•Chris Rongey is the host of the White Sox pregame and postgame shows on WSCR 670-AM The Score. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRongey and at chrisrongey.com. Subscriber Total Access members can email him questions each week via our online link.

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