As the final out was recorded in the Tigers 6-5 win over the Indians last night, more than just the game was over, the White Sox playoff chances officially ended as well.
Now, I’m not one to point fingers, but allow me to point some thumbs downward at a few of the players who contributed to the Sox failure to make the postseason for the third time in four years.
So much was made of Mark Buehrle’s perfect game. But in a season when the White Sox desperately needed a stopper, Buehrle didn’t step up.
In the past two months he’s gone 1-6, and in the past two months the Sox have gone from tied for first place to being eliminated with a week of September left.
That’s not to say that Mark Buehrle is a bad pitcher, or that I don’t want him in the rotation next year. But he’s been the “ace” of this staff for the past few seasons and his performance in crunch time was far from ace-like.
I’ve been on the Alex Rios bandwagon since the bandwagon was originally constructed. However, I have to dangle one leg off of the back of the bandwagon for a second and admit that Rios has been brutal at the plate during his time in Chicago. He’s hit .162 and has only drawn three walks, which comes out to an astounding .182 OBP!
His range in the outfield has been great (2.57 RF/G)—the best of his career, actually. But he’s also committed two errors, so I can’t even cling to his fielding as a reason for hope for Sox fans.
Bottom line on Alex Rios is that he will improve.
However, his performance this year has been worse than forgettable. If there was a team picture of players who hurt this team down the stretch, Alex Rios would be the one holding the White Sox sign.
Time to get back on the bandwagon. Plenty of room on here!
I’ve already written about my goodbye to Jermaine. He has deteriorated at the plate down the stretch, and if Jermaine Dye isn’t hitting, he’s not contributing.
He’s been a below average fielder every year with the Sox with his career worst year coming last season (-7.7 runs worse than an average fielder!) So, when Dye only hits .180 in the second half it’s difficult not to notice.
What’s the reason behind Dye’s problems at the plate? Has he reached the downside of the hill or is it just an extended slump?
Correct answer: it doesn’t matter. He was supposed to step up, and instead he contributed to the lack of production from the middle of the order.
Last but certainly not least is closer (most ironic title on the team) Bobby Jenks. The big closer has been a big asset for the Sox since his arrival during the World Series campaign.
However, this year a different Bobby Jenks showed up on the South Side. One that seems to feel the pressure much more than the old one.
Gone is the hammer of a curveball. Now, when the game is on the line it’s fastball, fastball, fastball, and opposing hitters know it. The Sox needed him to join Thornton as the only sure things in a bullpen that, instead of shortening the game, seemed to do everything possible to lengthen it.
But Jenks didn’t join Thornton, and his struggles have magnified the problems the pen faced this year.
These four players were not the only ones who cost the Sox games, but they certainly stood out.
If the Sox are going to get back to the postseason they’re going to need much better production from those four players, or the new players that fill those positions (I’m looking at you JD and Jenks)
You may have noticed the picture for this slide is Scott Linebrink. He very easily could have been used in this list, but as far as I'm concerned, the less that Linebrink is involved with anything involving the White Sox, the better.