Gordon Beckham and the White Sox have struggled in the month of September
The Chicago White Sox were not picked by many to win the AL Central Division or make the playoffs coming into the season. In spite of the low expectations, the White Sox led the division for the majority of the year and looked to be in good shape to lock up an improbable crown over a strong Detroit Tigers team.
Chicago has dropped 10 of its last 13 games, and a Tigers' win Monday night over Kansas City gave Detroit its second straight division crown.
The White Sox have disappointed their fanbase, who believed they could close out the season strong, but Chicago is not alone as other MLB teams have underwhelmed with their performance this season. Here's a look at the most disappointing teams of the 2012 MLB regular season.
Ozzie Guillen's team has failed to live up to the hype.
The Marlins had a fresh start in 2012 with a new team name and brand new ballpark. Factor that in with the offseason acquisitions of shortstop Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Carlos Zambrano and closer Heath Bell, and the Marlins seemed primed to make a run at an NL East Crown.
At 68-92, they sit in the cellar of the division, 19 games back of the first-place Washington Nationals.
After winning the NL batting title last year, Jose Reyes is hitting .284 this season, 53 points below his .337 average in 2011. Giancarlo Stanton has blasted 37 homers, but he has only played in 121 games due to injury. Heath Bell was dreadful for a good chunk of the season and has blown seven of his 26 save chances. He has a 4-5 record with a 4.95 ERA, a far cry from his 2.44 ERA with the San Diego Padres in 2011.
Finally, star Hanley Ramirez was shipped to the Dodgers in a July trade.
First-year manager Robin Ventura did a good job in first season as the skipper.
The White Sox seemed to be in command all year until the latter part of September. In early September, most people thought the Detroit Tigers would take command of the division, but Chicago clung to a two or three game deficit and seemed unwavering. In the latter part of the month, the White Sox did not play dreadfully but lost some heartbreakers.
At 84-76 with two remaining games, the White Sox appear to have overachieved what was expected of them this season. It is highly disappointing the way they finished in a year where so many players had bounceback seasons. Adam Dunn was back to his old way this season as he has smacked 41 home runs following a disastrous 2011 that saw him hit .159 with 11 home runs.
Jake Peavy stayed healthy for an entire season and has won 11 games, compiling a 3.37 ERA in the process. Alex Rios is hitting .303 with 25 homers, 90 RBI, and 23 steals after a forgettable 2011 season. A.J. Pierzynski has hit 27 homers, nine more than his career high set in 2005.
Coming into the season, the Tigers were dubbed the class of the division, but the White Sox led them in the standings for almost the whole year. The Tigers and Triple Crown candidate Miguel Cabrera proved to be too much in the end.
Bobby Valentine's first season as the skipper has been disastrous.
After an epic September collapse in 2011 that saw Terry Francona lose his job and revelations come out that Red Sox pitchers were eating chicken and drinking beer during games, the Red Sox looked to bounce back in 2012.
The roster still was loaded with talent under the direction of new manager Bobby Valentine, but a slow start, a rash of injuries and mediocre performance by star players doomed the Red Sox. It got so bad that Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett were all shipped to the L.A. Dodgers in an August trade in an attempt to dump salary and begin rebuilding the team.
Valentine's behavior and comments have been even more bizarre as the season has worn on, and he recently said his current roster was the weakest in team history.
Despite a talented team that was bolstered by a blockbuster trade deadline deal, the Dodgers may be watching the postseason from home.
Before Matt Kemp was injured early in the season, the Dodgers looked like team to beat in the NL West. After Kemp went down, the Dodgers' bats struggled and the pitching could only do so much.
The Dodgers were aggressive in trying to improve their roster in July and August, adding Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett.
The Dodgers went just 14-12 in the month of September even after winning the final five games. They currently sit at 85-75, two games back of the St. Louis Cardinals with two games to play and needing help to have a chance at the postseason.
With ownership that wants to win so badly, it is disappointing that the Dodgers are unlikely to make the playoffs with their high expectations.
Albert Pujols' Angels will not be in the 2012 MLB Playoffs.
One would think a pitching rotation composed of Jered Weaver, Zack Greinke, C.J. Wilson and Dan Haren would be dominant and lead a team to the playoffs. However, this is not the case in 2012 as the Los Angeles Angels will not have a chance to compete for the World Series.
While Weaver has been stellar all season, the other three have underachieved by their lofty standards, costing the Angels a playoff spot. The Oakland A's won Monday night to earn a playoff berth and eliminate the Angels from contention. The A's and Orioles do not have the big names like the Angels, but they played stellar ball and earned their postseason berths by playing outstanding baseball.
Albert Pujols started his Angels career off extremely slow, but he still has managed to collect 104 RBI. 21-year-old phenom and MVP candidate Mike Trout (.320 AVG, 30 HR, 80 RBI, 48 SBs) has put together arguably the best rookie season in MLB history.
However, the Angels are 89-71, only good enough for third place in the AL West after being pegged by many in the preseason to represent the American League in the World Series.