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WSI News - Sox Fans Sound Off!

Your Chance to Sound Off about the Sox! Learn more here!

Getting Tougher!

by Sox Fan Fred

To hear most of the mediots in Chicago talk,it's a bad thing that the CHICAGO WHITE SOX are in first place on June 7th. You've heard the rhetoric by now.
-The team is lucky.
-The starting pitching can't continue to be this good.
- The team isn't hitting enough.
- The White Sox don't draw enough fans.
- They'll choke, and the Twins will win in the end.
- They're an ugly team, and if the North Side N.L. Crybabies were in first
place, the World Series tickets would have been printed and distributed already.
Well, the mediots said all but the last one, but you get the drift.As it becomes harder to win games, the heat of the spotlight increases .If Ozzie Guillen thinks he's being second guessed now, wait until August and September. The Twinkies aren't going away ,folks. This will be, as OG himself has stated, a fight to the finish.
For every Sox fan that wants to prove all the antagonists wrong, there are Jeff Brantleys, Steve Phillipses and Peter Gammonses waiting for the South Siders to take a fall from first.
But, alas, this Sox team is different. Their parts can be interchangable. For example, Dustin Hermanson, who was signed as a spot starter/reliever in December,2004,is now the closer. Will he remain the closer??
What happens if Shingo Takatsu reverts to his 2004 form??
Ozzie Guiilen will tell you he goes with the hot hand; The reliever that gives the team the best chance to win will get the most opportunities.
But it is time for Sox fans to "strap it down", as Hawk Harrelson likes to say. The ride to that A.L. Central title is getting bumpy.
And don't look in your rear view mirror. Those are the Twins you see 3 1/2 games behind you and moving up quickly. One bad week, and the Sox may be in second place looking up at them.
I woke up this Monday morning, got online,and found a Mike Inrem article about how it might be time for the Sox to hit the wall.
In the words of "M*A*S*H" commander Sherman Potter, "Horse hockey!"
The Sox may (or may not) hit that wall, but if they do, they are well prepared for the impact of the crash.
All 5 starters have gone 6 + innings consistently. Any of them could be a slump buster. If the 3,4, and 5 starters (Contreras, Hernandez, Garland) can't get it done, rest assured Mark Beuherle and Freddy Garcia will get the job done.
The bullpen has many questions as well, but it had to make a Sox fan feel good to see Neal Cotts come into a bases loaded,1 out situation Sunday and induce a 1-2-3 double play to end the seventh inning. Make no mistake; the Sox will need Cotts to do that a lot before this wild ride is over. Cliff Politte has been Mr. Lights out since he stopped nibbling at the corners of the strike zone and began attacking hitters. Shingo Takatsu and Luis Vizcaino need to get their act together as well. If things don't start shaping up soon, look for Kenny Williams to call up Jon Adkins or possibly pursue a trade for relief help.
The offense has been spotty at best. But it has been timely. Just when you think an inning is over, someone steps to the plate and delivers. A good example of this is Tadahito Iguchi.The rookie second baseman has made many adjustments since coming from Japan to the USA. He will do whatever it takes to start a rally, move a runner over, or bring the runner home. Sunday, Pablo Ozuna singled off Sox killer CC Sabathia with 2 outs in the 7th. The Sox were down 3-1 at the time. Iguchi waited for his pitch and drilled it over the left field wall for a 3-3 tie. Hitting behind Scott Podsednik does have its advantages. And don't discount the importance of Frank Thomas' presence in this lineup. Whether he earns a base on balls, a base hit, or a clutch home run, he changes the way pitchers think about facing this club. And don't worry about Carl Everett; he will take whatever role Ozzie Guillen issues to him, be it pinch hitting, designated hitting or playing the outfield.
The one thing that should encourage Sox fans is this: after a tough loss(like Sunday's 6-4 debacle), this team bounces back. That hasn't always been the case (see 2001,2002,2003,2004).Ozzie Guillen has noticed that when the Sox lose a game as of late, some fans (and mediots) treat it as if someone in their family has died.
This is not life and death, folks; it's baseball. Guillen makes sure his players know that. After a tough loss, OG will encourage (yes, encourage) the music in the clubhouse to be turned up. No need pouting over something you have no control over. A loss is a loss. Win tomorrow, and things will get better.
The Sox will have to crumble the Berlin Wall known as the Minnesota Twins to win the A.L. Central.But they are better prepared in 2005 than they have been since 2000. Guillen's attitude (and his players) will make all the difference.
"So, sit back,r elax and strap it down" as Hawk would say. If all goes well come September, the Sox will prevail.
Just remember this :the Sox last 4 home games of the year are against the Twinkies. Wouldn't it be great to clinch the division at home during one of those contests??
We'll see.

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