From an impressive World Series title run to a disappointing late-season collapse.
The Chicago White Sox won’t get a chance to defend their title, instead they are resigned to playing out the final week of the season as they continue their series with the Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field on Tuesday.
One season after they ended an 88-year title drought by storming through October, the White Sox (87-70) will watch the postseason unfold this fall with 21 other teams following a 14-1 loss Monday to the Indians.
Not long after being handed its most lopsided defeat of the season, Chicago was eliminated from the playoff chase when the Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 8-1 to secure at least a wild-card berth.
“It’s frustrating,” White Sox designated hitter Jim Thome said. “When you’re a good team you expect to go a lot farther. We’re not going to where we want to go.”
After adding Thome to their already powerful lineup during the winter, the White Sox came into the year picked by most to make another run at a championship. But things didn’t go well from the start.
The White Sox first found themselves chasing the surprising Detroit Tigers and then couldn’t keep pace with the Twins, who passed them in the final few weeks and haven’t looked back since.
A shaky bullpen, eight losses in their last 11 games and a 9-15 record thus far in September doomed the White Sox.
“We didn’t play up to expectations,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “It was a disappointing year for me. I get paid to win games and we didn’t.”
The Indians (73-83), whose season was as disappointing as Chicago’s, gained a small measure of satisfaction in ending the White Sox’s postseason hopes. A year ago, the opposite was true as the White Sox swept a three-game series in Cleveland on the season’s final weekend to end the Indians’ playoff quest.
“It certainly doesn’t make our season,” said Cleveland right fielder Casey Blake, who hit the team’s 14th grand slam of the season Monday, tying a major league record. “But they knocked us out last year and if we kept them from getting into the playoffs, that’s great.”
Cleveland will start C.C. Sabathia (11-11, 3.36 ERA). He has lost two straight starts, posting a 5.10 ERA in that span. The left-hander gave up seven runs—four earned—and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings in a 7-4 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Thursday.
Sabathia is 3-0 with a 2.86 ERA in five starts against the White Sox this season, and 11-3 with a 3.89 ERA in 19 career starts against them.
The White Sox are winless in Javier Vazquez’s (11-10, 4.66 ERA) last eight starts. The right-hander is 0-4, but has a 3.43 ERA in that span.
Vazquez gave up five runs and seven hits while striking out 12 in 7 1-3 innings in a 9-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Thursday. He is 2-0 with a 1.82 ERA in four starts against the Indians this season, and 3-1 with a 3.51 ERA in seven lifetime starts against them.