Los Angeles Angels

As the regular season for Major League Baseball comes to a close this weekend, stuff (thank god for the White Sox faithful), cure the race to the playoffs is still on.  In the American League (AL) picture, the Kansas City Royals have clinched the Central division title, the Toronto Blue Jays secured their playoff spot with the division title in the East and the New York Yankees have solidified the first wild card spot.  What’s still up for grabs is the Western division title and the second wild card spot.

Currently in the West you have the Texas Rangers, who guaranteed themselves a spot in the postseason last night with a win over the Los Angeles Angels.  The Angels, with that loss, were eliminated from the division race, but they, along with the Minnesota Twins, still have an outside shot at the second AL Wild Card spot.  The Rangers have all but locked down the division with a three game lead over the Houston Astros with three games to play, meaning Texas would have to lose all three of their games while the Astros would have to win out just to force a one-game playoff for the division crown.  Maybe this isn’t the most probable scenario, but as a fan, being able to watch that exciting tie-breaker is something I’m rooting for.

To this day, nothing beats the Chicago White Sox “Blackout” game of 2008 for the AL Central division title against the Minnesota Twins.  Prior to the game, the White Sox and the Twins ended their regular season with equal 88-74 records.  I was lucky enough to score a ticket to this game and it was the greatest baseball game I had ever seen.  There was an excitement in the air at the ball park that was electrifying! The game had excellent pitching by John Danks, who pitched into the 7th inning and a rock-solid closing performance by Bobby Jenks.  The White Sox fielding was amazing including an outstanding defensive play by Ken Griffey Jr. and A. J. Pierzynski teaming up to throw out Michael Cuddyer at home plate.  The White Sox went on to win the game 1-0 on the strength of a solo home run by Jim Thome in the 7th inning.

The reason it was call the “blackout” game was because the nearly 40,000 fans in attendance were encouraged to wear all black during the game to show their support for the team.  I was also told that it was called the blackout game because it was the only game being played in the MLB that night and the outfield MLB scoreboard was blacked out.

What made the blackout game more memorable than any other game in recent history was that White Sox fans were able to celebrate an amazing victory with the team they all loved at home.  As you may remember, the White Sox clinched both the Central Division and World Series Championships on the road three years prior, so for fans this was a time to celebrate with the team and boy did we celebrate with “high-fives” dance-offs in the stands and a big salute from the players.

With a few more regular season scenarios to be play out this weekend, we can rest soundly knowing that October baseball is upon us and baseball fans are in for an exciting post-season.

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Oh, tadalafil the Chicago White Sox, the team you just can’t figure out.  Every time you think they’re going to take a step forward in the division, they blow it and take six steps back. The Sox are currently in last place and it’s the same consistent issues killing this team:  shaky bullpen and a lackluster defense.

What did I really expect as far as improved defense?  Adam Eaton is an improvement, but other than that, it’s about the same team as last year.  This team hasn’t had a good third baseman since Joe Crede, and that’s sad.  Sox fans, I preach not to compare your team to the Cubs, but I will in this instance.  The Sox have lost one less game than the Cubs and what really makes that sad is that at least you knew the Cubs would be horrendous, but did you really expect this with the south siders?  I didn’t expect playoffs, but never did I think last place.  I know I sound all gloom and doom, so I must remind myself that there’s still a lot of baseball left and this team features the best pitcher in baseball and a potential rookie of the year.

Red Tank Top with Batterman Logo by 5th & Ocean, Clark Street Sports: $24.99

Red Tank Top with Batterman Logo by 5th & Ocean, Clark Street Sports: $24.99

As we enter July it is time to wonder will this team be a seller or a buyer and the answer is, if they have more series like the last two they’ll try to sell everyone but Chris Sale and Jose Abreu.

Chris Sale congratulates Jose Abreu

Chris Sale congratulates Jose Abreu

The Sox are 7.5 games out of first place and 6 games under .500, not a good position, but since no one is running away in their division there’s still time to turn it around (which I say every week).

Quick Review:  The Sox snapped a five-game losing streak with a 4-2 win in Baltimore a night after blowing a ninth inning lead.  The White Sox were swept in four games by the Minnesota Twins.  One of the losses was to a pitcher, Yohan Pino who spent 10 years in the minors.  Although the team hasn’t played well, their rookie of the year candidate, Jose Abreu continues to tee off on major league pitching. He became the third youngest player to reach 20 home runs this quickly.   His 20th home run came a day after meeting with the coaches to discuss him not running on a dropped third strike.

All-Star? Alexi Ramirez

All-Star? Alexi Ramirez

News:  Scott Carroll will replace Andre Rienzo in the starting lineup after Rienzo lost his last five starts.  Minor leaguers Micah Johnson and Francellis Montas will participate in the All-Star Futures game.  Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez are in second place at their positions in All-Star voting.  They need your help Sox fans, go to mlb.com and vote.  You can submit 25 online ballots so do the Chicago thing-vote and vote often.

What’s Next:  Mark Buehrle awaits his former team as the Sox head to Toronto for four games against the Blue Jays.  They will return to US Cellular on June 30th to face the Angels.

ballot

 

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