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PLAYOFFS!!!

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  • Playoffs!!!

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    Sox fans have been waiting twelve years for today - twelve long frustrating years. Along the way we've seen our share of bad baseball. We've had to endure so many bad players, partial rebuilds and finally a full tear down to start from scratch with a bunch of kids. Last year we started to see some of the fruits as young players came on to show promise and help give a glimpse of the future and then everything got put on hold. The whole world got put on hold and all we could do is scratch our heads and say, "what now?" As Bill Veeck once quipped ""If there is any justice in this world, to be a White Sox fan frees a man from any other form of penance."

    But the season finally got going in late July and after a slow start and a lot of hand wringing and questions, much of it brought on by our nemesis from Minnesota in the first week of the season, the Sox took off. The young kids started hitting and the defense looked solid and they had not one but two or even three MVP candidates at various times. Entering these final two weeks against much tougher competition the Sox were the #1 team in the American League, but standing in our way was that very same Twinkies team. Some were convinced this would be the moment the Sox proved to be pretenders, getting fat on weak competition and now the butchers bill was due. Monday they won a squeaker. Tuesday was easier as rookie Pitcher Dane Dunning in only his 5th start rose up and led the team to victory. Wednesday our ace let us down a bit and the offense couldn't get anything going and the Sox took a painful loss, more so with the match-up coming Thursday day with Minnesota sending an ace to the mound as the Sox went with Renaldo "Mr. Wishy-Washy" Lopez. Early in the game no one was getting much going offensively, but both teams knocked out some solo homers. Abreu and Encarnacion twice tying the game up with their blasts, but the Twinkies took the lead in the 6th when Donaldsaon chased Lopez from the mound with the 5th solo shot of the game. Donaldson then promptly got himself tossed trolling the home plate umpire, which was just fine with us Sox fans. Then, in the 7th, the Twinkies nearly extended the lead after a misplayed flyball in center that could have been a back-breaker, but a nice relay nipped Buxton at the plate to keep the score 3-2, and so the score remained until the bottom half. Jarrod Dyson led off slapping his second single of the game and again stole second. Two outs later, with Dyson now on third, Grandal watched four balls sale past and Abreu promptly extended his AL RBI lead by channeling his inner Engel and beating out an infield single to plate Dyson and tie the game. Eloy Jimenez wasted no time drilling a hanging inside slider down the left field line for a double to drive in the go ahead run and hand the game to the bullpen.

    Cody Heuer returned for a second inning and was looking sharp but yielded a 2-out hit to Cruz and Ricky called for Alex Colome to earn a 4-out save - something the Sox have done more and more as the season has gone on. Colome nearly walked the next batter but induced a sharp grounder to Abreu who stepped on first and ended the threat. After a scoreless bottom half Alex came back out for the ninth and quickly got two routine fly balls to center, but then muffed a comebacker to breathe a bit of life into our hated northerly rivals. Alex wasn't phased though and another routine flyball to center ended the game and sent the Sox to the playoffs!

    I know a lot of us were thinking this year would be one more year to lock things in. With Michael Kopech opting out and the Sox relying on two rookies - a number that has grown to 5 or more (honestly I lose count) this wasn't supposed to happen. The injuries to the starting pitchers and back end bullpen pieces might have been a deal breaker, but the Sox just keep dancing along. Picking each other up, having fun, throwing leather and scoring runs in bunches. Every game seems to bring a new hero or just the next guy on the list. Through it all the steady play of veterans like Tim Anderson, Jose Abreu Yasmani Grandal, James McCann, Dallas Keuchel and Colome have allowed the team to just relax and take it as it comes. And take they have, with gusto.

    There's still work to do. They still need to win the division and the chance for the best record in the AL still lurks. The Sox have a 3 game lead on the Twinkies for the division and with the tiebreaker on their side due to today's win it's more like 4. As the Hawk would say, "Don't Stop Now Boys!" Soxtober beckons...
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      --------------------

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