Obviously, I shouldn't have gone to Lollapalooza.
While it was a great weekend of music, and definitely deserved the title of "concert event of the summer", the White Sox went 0-2 while I was at the festival.
Sorry, guys, my bad. Rage Against the Machine and Kanye West (among others) were just too good to pass up.
All joking aside, it's getting tense. It's always tense when you're out of first place after sitting at the top for so long. It's always tense when you're losing important games to the long-time bottom feeder of your division.
It's always tense when that same team that you've been battling against for so long starts to heat up and gets their best pitcher back.
The smiles are gone, the muscles are tight, and the strain is evident in the White Sox. They're close to cracking, and it's going to take more than a stick of Kid Dynamite to get the ChiSox back to the top of the AL Central.
Hard times on the road
The White Sox have gotten rid of their streakiness as of late and become a consistent team. Unfortunately, that consistency is on losing side of the score sheet.
They're consistently making errors, getting less-than-solid pitching, leaving runners on base, and giving away leads late in games. This all adds up to consistent losing.
Is this true? Can it really be? Could I really be this down on the Sox when I've been so optimistic, even back in April when they lost seven in a row on the road?
This is not what you want to see from a contending club, especially on the road. After starting out well and taking two of three from Detroit, the Sox flopped in Minnesota and gave the Twins momentum before losing to the Royals, who are quickly becoming a more annoying and prickly adversary for the South Siders.
It's hard for me to say what's more aggravating: The Twins taking over first place, the Sox's inability to win on the road, the superball Astroturf of the Metrodome, or the complete bitchassness (credit to Diddy for that one) of Zack Greinke.
These days, any one would be enough for me to immediately frown and utter the words "those lousy Cubs" over and over.
I just can't help it: It hurts so much to see the Cubs succeed while the Sox are floundering.
When the going gets tough
However angry I am, I do realize that nothing has been decided yet. It's only Aug. 5, and there are more than 50 games left in the season. Now it's up to the Fighting Sox to keep that mind as well.
They have a good amount of games on the road, and even though the just-finished road trip wasn't great at 4-6, they have a couple of wins to hold on to as good examples.
Obviously, the Twins have been on a roll as of late, and they drew the easier stick this weekend in playing the down-and-out Indians. With Francisco Liriano finally back in their rotation, they'll be tough.
However, they're embarking on a road trip of their own to Seattle and Kansas City before coming back dome (I meant the pun) to face a rejuvenated New York squad. Time for them to watch the scoreboard.
But you can't let the other team do the work for you. The Sox need to start doing the little things right, and it starts with the pitching and the defense. Sending Clayton Richard down was a statement move, but with Contreras still rehabbing, no one's a lock to be the fifth starter.
The defense gave way in a close game against Minnesota last Thursday, and the Sox need to prevent that from happening this week against Detroit and the onrushing BoSox. Both Detroit and Boston are good teams, and good teams will punish mistakes.
The time is now
John Cena's catchphrase may immediately draw boos from WWE fans, but the Pale Hose should use it as a rallying cry. A run of wins early in the month might not set the Twins back on their heels, but it will make them pay attention to the Sox and the scoreboard each night.
More to the point, a couple of good winning streaks would give the Sox some much-needed confidence, something they didn't have on the road this week. While they always step it up at Comiskey, they'll need something extra with home series against the Red Sox and Rays this month.
Plus, the Royals come into town next Tuesday. If that doesn't light a fire under the Fight Sox, the pinwheels will be dark come October.
And Lupe Fiasco's prediction of a White Sox-Cubs World Series will fade away as quickly as the weed smoke from Lollapalooza.
Let the sock fly on, and until next time, keep waving the Pennant.