We haven't had a good tirade on this blog in awhile. Rest assured, this one has been building up for most of the baseball season. Maybe I've gone too easy on the mediocre mental midgets known as the 2009 Chicago White Sox, but it's open season now after I read Paul Konerko's comment in the Sun-Times this morning after last night's lay-down-like-dogs 5-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
"Baltimore has played us tough this year," Konerko said. "We just have to win series, but the first game is always the most important of the three. One day at a time. I know it's a cliche, but we can't play Boston or New York before we play Baltimore."
"Just win series." God, I hate this mentality. I've been hearing this crap all year. Not just from Konerko. A.J. Pierzynski and Jermaine Dye have said it too. Ozzie Guillen, Don Cooper and Greg Walker as well. Even Gordon Beckham has talked about the "importance of winning series." Great. We've already infected the best young player we've had since Frank Thomas with our mental cripple bullcrap.
It's OK to give away a game to last-place Baltimore. We're just trying to win series. It's OK to give Jeremy Guthrie his first win since July 19 (which, BTW, was also against the Sox). We're just trying to win series. It's OK to wait until tomorrow to play well. We're just trying to win series.
Now you know why the Sox have swept only two series all year. The Sox are 2-9 this year when trying to sweep a series. They should have been able to go 4-7 just on accident. You can't help but wonder if there is a correlation between that failure and this "just win series" mantra they've been chanting all season.
There's a few things the White Sox need to understand:
1) The teams that win the most games go to the playoffs, not the teams that win the most series.
2) 3-0 is a much better record than 2-1. You think there is a difference between three games over .500 and one game over?
3) You can't win every series. It's not realistic.
4) You can make up for not winning every series by sweeping someone every now and then.
This last road trip was a great case in point. The Sox took the first two in Oakland, and then laid down and died on Sunday, despite a great effort from pitcher John Danks. "Oh, well. We took the series. No matter that we lost two out of three in Seattle, and could have made up for it by sweeping Oakland. We'd rather 'just win series' and settle for mediocrity. Hooray for second place!"
Despite all their sins and their pedestrian 62-60 record, the Sox still have a chance to go to the playoffs. They are only 3.5 games back of a mediocre Detroit Tigers team with 40 games to play. But every game is crucial now. EVERY GAME. You can't just brush off bad losses to bad teams because you're trying to "win series." Whether you won or lost last night's game is immaterial. All that matters is THAT DAY'S GAME.
My patience isn't wearing thin. It is gone. I received the invoice for playoff tickets in the mail last week. The money is due Sept. 2. The White Sox aren't going to see a dime of my money until Sept. 2. And they might not see a dime if they don't show me something in the next week or 10 days. Enough with the mental mistakes and enough with the pissing away of winnable games. It's time to get it together and play the game right.