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Jerry_Manuel
09-28-2001, 11:41 PM
From the Trib:
Sox in race—sort of
By Paul Sullivan
Tribune staff reporter
September 28, 2001 11:28 PM CDT

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The race for the Central Division title is all but over for the White Sox and the race for second place is less than gripping.

For most Sox fans the only remaining race that really matters is the one for baseball supremacy in Chicago. The Sox lost ground on both fronts Friday night, falling back to third place after a 3-2 loss to Kansas City ended their six-game winning streak over the Royals.

That leaves the Sox three games behind the Cubs in the battle for best-overall record, with eight games remaining for both teams.

Chad Durbin (8-16) broke a seven-game losing streak and avoided tying the Royals' club record.

Jon Garland threw six solid innings of two-run ball, but Gregg Zaun's home run off Alan Embree (1-2) in the seventh snapped a 2-2 tie.

Garland was removed despite throwing only 91 pitches, as the Sox continue to baby their 22-year-old starter.

"I always want to go as deep as I can," Garland said. "I felt good, but it was their decision to go with a lefty-lefty matchup, and so they did."

When the Sox headed into Wrigley Field right after the All-Star break, they were three games below .500 and 13 games behind Minnesota in the American League Central. The Cubs were 16 games above .500 and in first place, three games ahead of Houston in the National League Central.

With Josh Paul the only Sox player to grow up in the Chicago area, the team has little incentive to surpass the Cubs, aside from the general feeling they are treated like an afterthought in town.

Some were upset during the series in Wrigley Field, claiming Chris Singleton was portrayed as a "dirty" player for a high slide into shortstop Ricky Gutierrez while Eric Young was let off the hook for a similar takeout of Royce Clayton.

"As a player you really don't focus on teams out of our league," Paul Konerko said. "But it's big for the fans because that gives our fans four or five months of bragging rights over Cubs fans. It'd be cool to [pass the Cubs]. It'll definitely be in the back of our minds, though taking over second from Minnesota would be more important.

"But if it came down to the last day of the season and we had seen they had lost and we were playing, it definitely would be something to push for, no doubt about it. Why not? There's probably more money wagered on the Cubs-Sox in Chicago than on the World Series or playoffs."

Despite the intense rivalry between the two organizations, manager Jerry Manuel said he had no idea how close the Sox were to catching the Cubs. Furthermore he doesn't care.

"We've come a long way," Manuel said. "I remember when we were playing [the Cubs] that we wished we were in their place at that time, even though we won four of six against them. They were still leading their division. But that's something for the fans to debate.

"It's nothing that I try to aim for."