Couldn't it just be that with some obvious examples aside, this is simply a young team that made great strides but, in the end, hit a wall?
The Sox made great progress this season in all aspects of the game, particularly defense and pitching. Looking to 2013, the Sox have a strong nucleus of a pitching staff. The minor league system has improved nicely in the last few drafts.
So, cheer up. Unlike the neighbors eight miles to the north (who have made much noise about rebuilding), the Sox have showed some genuine and tangible progress this year. Having seen some of the Cub prospects like Jackson and Vitters, I'm not sure that you can say the same about the Cubs.
And if the Sox can win the regular season home finale and if the Twins can beat Anibal Sanchez today, the Sox will only be 1 down going into the final series of the season at Cleveland. Let's go Sox!