9:03 AM CDT, September 5, 2012
If you are a White Sox fatalist -- one of the 30,000 or so who were smart enough not to fill the Cell for Tuesday night’s joke against Minnesota -- then you have good reason to warm up the car and close the garage door on this season.
Yeah, the Sox still hold a one-game lead over the Tigers in the AL Central even after that 18-9 embarrassment against the Twins, but look, the Sox staff has devolved into a toxic waste dump of youth and injuries and walks.
John Danks has been gone for a while -- heck, it seemed he was never really here. Gavin Floyd is on the disabled list. Chris Sale has lost velocity and games as he pitches innings he has never seen before. Ditto, Jose Quintana -- no, wait, he’s been worse after giving up 12 runs and 12 hits in his last two starts that have totaled just five innings. Philip Humber went from untouchable to unwatchable. Francisco Liriano must have a bonus clause for full counts.
Oh, and then add Wednesday’s starter Jake Peavy, and ladies and gentlemen, there’s your Sox rotation.
Or what’s left of it. Or what passes for it, give or take a Dylan Axelrod or Hector Santiago.
If you have faith that failed closer Santiago can turn into a legitimate starter for a contender, then you’re ahead of me. Axelrod, meanwhile, can’t throw every day, although Dewayne Wise might have to.
And suddenly, unbelievably, the series finale against the annoying Twins looks like a huge game. It might loom large only for some psychological order, but there is the little matter of holding on to first place.
This might sound like panic-peddling after a fluke loss by a softball-like score, but if you understand how pitching rules this game and if you’ve watched these young arms pile up innings even after the team skipped and moved back their starts, then you can see the reality of this extreme home team makeover.
Losing games is one thing. Losing them when you can’t throw strikes or when you can’t keep your strikes in the ballpark is another. The latter is worse. The latter is killing the Sox.
So, if Peavy is the stopper, the ace, the willing-to-die-on-the-mound guy that he sounds like and used to be, then this would be a great time to prove that he still is.
I don’t know how a matinee against the dogbreath Twins becomes a candidate for “biggest start of the year,’’ but that seems to be where we are, and Sox fans had better hope it goes better than last week’s “biggest start of the year.’’
Peavy opened the series against the Tigers by allowing a first-inning homer to Miguel Cabrera that was last seen by the NASA rover Curiosity. You can’t do that. Not if you’re going to be the stud pitcher you’re supposed to be. Thanks for coming, pal.
Peavy also got smacked around in the seventh inning, setting up the rally that lost the game and began the sweep by the team just behind the Sox. Everybody sees what’s wrong here, right?
And another thing: Peavy’s start Wednesday suddenly feels even bigger because the Sox follow it with three games against the Royals and four against the Tigers. The Sox stink against the Royals and the Tigers.
Sox fatalists, start your cars.