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posted: 9/30/2012 8:02 PM

It's all but over for White Sox

Sox' continue to struggle; Tigers close to clinching

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  • Kevin Youkilis looks down as he walks back to the dugout after striking out in the eighth inning Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field.

      Kevin Youkilis looks down as he walks back to the dugout after striking out in the eighth inning Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field.
    Associated Press

 
 

Even though the White Sox have not been officially eliminated from the postseason, they know they don't deserve to play past Wednesday night's regular-season finale at Cleveland.

They know losing 10 of 12 games at such a critical time is not the best entrance strategy.

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They know when a starting pitcher goes 5 innings or less in five of seven games on the final homestand, bad things are going to happen.

And they know that when you average 2.6 runs scored over the past 13 games, it's probably a good time to re-grip the golf clubs.

"We didn't play good enough," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said after the Sox went down 6-2 to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday in what likely was his final game with the Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

"The effort was there, the work was there, everything was there. We just didn't get it done."

With three games remaining at Cleveland, the White Sox are 3 behind the first-place Tigers in the AL Central. Detroit closes out with three games at Kansas City.

One Tigers win -- or 1 Sox loss -- and it is officially over.

Inside the White Sox' somber clubhouse late Sunday afternoon, the mathematical possibilities didn't really matter.

It was an enjoyable five-month ride on the South Side, a surprising ride considering Detroit was widely projected to win the Central by double digits.

But an 11-18 September drained away much of the good feeling, and the White Sox still are a little numb after tumbling out of first place Wednesday.

"It (stinks)," said third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who batted .219 with 3 home runs and 8 RBI in September. "It (stinks) collectively that we didn't play as well as we could have. It's an unfortunate situation."

Adam Dunn hit 2 big home runs against Cleveland last Monday, carrying the Sox to a 5-4 victory and keeping them 1 game ahead of the Tigers.

But Dunn disappeared after that power display and closed the month going 1-for-21 with 11 strikeouts.

He was asked about the disappointment level.

"On a scale of 1 to 10? It's obviously a 12," Dunn said. "We played so well for so long and had ourselves in a great position. One of the things that got us here was doing the little things, hitting guys in, things like that. But when it came down to it late in the year, we couldn't it."

Desperately needing a win Sunday to stay 2 back of the Tigers and split the four-game series with the Rays, Sox starter Jose Quintana was greeted by a triple from Desmond Jennings leading off the game.

B.J. Upton followed with a 2-run homer, and you knew early this was going to be another futile effort.

Paul Konerko initially talked about still "being in the fight" and staying focused on beating Cleveland on Monday night.

That's a logical thought from the captain, but Konerko did get around to talking about the White Sox eventually being able to exit with their heads following a solid season.

"There's a certain peace that comes with that, knowing you went out and went at it the right way, the same way all year," Konerko said. "It's frustrating when you don't get the results you want, wins-wise.

"Like I said a couple of days ago, when you are winning a bunch of games in May or June, you don't sit around and say why us then. Nobody is going to feel sorry for you as a player or as a team. You just go out and keep grinding."

All the way to the bitter end.

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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