Monday, August 14, 2006


They Made The Train, After All: Chisox On Board For This Wild Ride

(my weekly take on the Tigers)

Last Week: 1-5
This Week: (8/14-16: at Bos; 8/17-20: TEX)

Last week I wrote of an imaginary train as an analogy to this AL Central race. The train was about to leave, I pontificated, and if the White Sox and/or Twins wanted to catch it, they'd better signal their intentions with a sweep of the Tigers. Each played them in a three game set last week.

Well, the Twins couldn't manage it, but the White Sox did. And maybe even the Twins are on board yet, after a rare 1-5 week by our boys.

Michael Rosenberg, bless his heart, tried to put a positive spin on things in today's Free Press when he correctly pointed out, from a factual standpoint, that the Tigers have the very same 5 1/2 game lead over the White Sox now as they did on the morning of July 21. Twenty-three days have passed, Rosenberg basically said, and the White Sox haven't put a dent into that 5 1/2 game deficit.

Correct, but misguided. Factual, but flawed. Accurate, but shaky.

Yes, the Tigers have knocked off nearly a month from the schedule and haven't lost any ground since July 21st. But do you REALLY think that makes them feel better this morning? Or the fans?

There's still 45 games to be played (46 for Chicago). That's like having a four-point lead in an NBA game that has three minutes to play. PLENTY of time. And the White Sox won't have to rely on others for help, necessarily; they have seven games remaining with the Detroiters.

So the "well, the lead is the same as it was 23 days ago" theory is nice, but not all that rock steady. It's the wet paper bag of defenses. Because the two teams seem to be headed in opposite directions.

The Tigers need a victory -- any kind of victory -- in the worst way. Ugly, pretty, low-scoring, high-scoring, whatever. They just need a win. Can they get it in the cozy confines of Fenway Park this week?

Pennant race, here we come -- ready or not!


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