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White Sox Mon May 02 2011

White Sox: "Just Burn April. Burn It."

Thumbnail image for white sox.gifWhile it's generally accepted among White Sox fans that the team is prone to slow starts, did anyone expect another one this bad? After five straight losses and 15 in 18 games, the past three to perennially hapless Baltimore, they sit at 10-19, a full 10 games behind the surprising, first-place Indians.

In the words of Cab Calloway, "Boys, things are bad."

So bad, in fact, that the Sox are actually worse than they were this time last year.

Everyone remembers last season right? Do we all remember the 24-33 start that made winning 26 of 31 games not just a thrill but a necessity?

Well get ready, because if the Chicago White Sox are going to play any October ball at all they'll have to dig themselves out of a grave like Beatrix Kiddo, and right now this team is lacking any punch.

Everything is wrong and little is working. At no point in any of the Sox losses over the past three weeks did anyone expect them to pull through. While the rotation has been mostly adequate, posting a 4.44 ERA, the lineup ranks 11th in the AL with 3.9 runs per game -- and even when they can scrape together enough runs to take a lead, there's little hope the bullpen can hold it.

Just look at the eighth-inning calamity between A.J. Pierzynski and Matt Thornton in Saturday's 6-2 loss. If you only needed to watch one inning to sum up how this April went, this was it.

Before the Sox could record even a single out, they had allowed the Orioles to score four runs on three hits, a walk, a wild pitch and a passed ball. Thornton was mercifully pulled after a sac fly by Luke Scott, but the string of disastrous pitches shot his ERA up to 8.64 and his WHIP to an abominable 2.52.

In the bottom of the inning, the Sox responded by going down in order.

I was fortunate enough to miss that game. I was at a concert. But I got a text from Jenny Zelle, my Tailgate tag-team partner. It was just a series of expletives.

"So I'm drawing another 'L' on my Sox calendar when I get home?" I replied.

"Just burn April," she texted back. "Burn it."

It would be nice if torching the calendar would exorcise these demons. But yesterday was a new month and more of the same in a 6-4 loss. Gavin Floyd allowed six earned runs and Alex Rios murdered a rally by grounding out on the first pitch with the bases loaded.

These guys are better than they have been playing, but no one is showing any sign of improvement. Leadoff man Juan Pierre has been caught stealing seven times, three more than any other major-leaguer. Perpetual up-and-comer Gordon Beckham has once again found himself demoted to the No. 8 spot in the lineup and is experimenting with different walk-up songs in hopes of changing his fortunes. Adam Dunn hit his third home run Sunday, but his OPS is still at .624. And why Alex Rios and his empty .155 average are still in center field every day I have absolutely no idea.

The Sox are running out of time to turn things around. It would be foolish to expect them to bail themselves out with another 26-5 run to get back in contention. If May ends up looking like April, the offseason will get here a lot faster than we would like.

 
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