If everything -- everything -- went right this season, the White Sox could have been a contender.
The odds of that happening were as slim as Chris Sale, so the Sox are once again floundering to the finish line.
On Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field, the White Sox (59-68) lost 4-3 to the Orioles (73-52), who swept the three-game series.
Right fielder Avisail Garcia was your lone highlight with a 2-run homer, his first since April 8, and a sacrifice fly.
"I feel great right now," said Garcia, who is 5-for-16 with a home run and 6 RBI in 5 games since coming off the disabled list Saturday. "Last night I didn't feel very good but we've been working hard in the cage. The hitting coach (Todd Steverson) told me a couple things so I put it in the game so that's why you see the work today."
Garcia's encouraging return aside, it's another lost season for the Sox. In a certain sense, general manager Rick Hahn is OK with that.
"When we started this process, 14, 15 months ago or whenever it was, it was with an eye toward the next three or four years," Hahn said. "There's always been a group of targeted players internal within the organization whose development we wanted to monitor and see how they fit in, as well as outside the organization to continue to monitor and scout."
Even before this recent stretch of 10 losses in 14 games, Hahn had his eye on the future.
"It's not as if there's ever really a shift in your mind toward next year," the GM said. "We've tried to have a longer term view for a while now and the only thing that's going to change when the season comes to a close is that teams are probably going to be a little more active in terms of probably executing their plans for next year. You're going to see a little more transaction activity than you've seen."
The offense has been in the doldrums for much of August, especially with leadoff man Adam Eaton on the disabled list.
But if there is one obvious area that needs to be overhauled for 2015, it is the bullpen. There is no reliable closer, and White Sox relievers rank near the bottom in every important category.
"We've made no secret that the bullpen performance has not been satisfactory and it's been an area of need, an area of improvement whether it comes from internal options or outside," Hahn said. "I certainly feel like there have been some positives, there have been some guys thrusted into more difficult roles than anticipated at the start of the year and some of them have responded and shown that they're going to be a part of this going forward. But even with that said we're very aware of the fact that it's going to be an area of need going into the off-season."
Manager Robin Ventura is back on the hot seat with a growing number of Sox fans, mainly for the way he's handled the bullpen. In fairness, Ventura doesn't have many choices when he makes pitching changes.
"People don't see the things that we see as far as what's going on internally, but they're frustrated," Ventura said. "We're frustrated. I think when you're not winning you get frustrated and you understand that, but in the end we're continuing to play. That's just part of the job."
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