Where have you gone, white-hot White Sox? The team that just three weeks ago looked like it could run away with the Central Division is suddenly tied and could spiral downward faster than you can say “Mercy.”

Losing three of four to the Orioles in the middle of a pennant race is inexcusable, no matter who their manager is.

The Sox mustered just 10 runs in four games against Baltimore’s league-worst pitching staff. The 4-5-6 hitters were a combined 5-for-33 in the series, and the Sox hit 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position in the last two defeats. Carlos Quentin has just one hit in his last 12 at-bats, and A.J. Pierzynski is hitting a measly .188 since the All-Star break.


The White Sox return home banged up and scuffed up. The offense has returned to its early-season mediocrity, the bullpen looks vulnerable, and the injury bug has begun to rear its ugly head.

Take Gordon Beckham’s groin injury, then add Andruw Jones’ inability to hit a baseball and Bobby Jenks’ stiff back—not to mention his diminished skills—and it looks like the White Sox have all the ingredients for an August implosion.

Over the next 10 days, the South Siders play six games against the “Piranhas” of Minnesota and a three-game set against the Tigers, who have faded faster than President Obama’s approval rating.

The Twins enter the midweek series at U.S. Cellular Field on a roll, winning seven of their last 10, and lead the majors with a .303 batting average since June 29. All of that has come without MVP-caliber Justin Morneau, who is expected to begin a rehab assignment within the next two weeks. His return to the lineup will be a boon for the Twinkies.


On paper, it looks like Ozzie and Co. may have seen their time atop the Central expire.

Not so fast my friend.

This is baseball, not tic-tac-toe.

These games aren’t played on paper.

Chicago enters the dog days of August down, but by no means out. The 2010 White Sox have shown an uncanny ability to persevere and fight through adversity. For evidence of this, look no further than June 8.

The night before the Blackhawks hoisted the Cup, the South Siders were just 24-33, 9.5 games back of Minnesota in the Central. The roster was on the verge of being gutted.

Luckily, GM Kenny Williams was more patient than many Sox faithful.

Ozzie’s crew is 39-16 since that June night, thanks to their never-say-die attitude, coupled with a stacked rotation and a lineup that had been in a groove.

Last weekend’s series in Baltimore could prove to be a hiccup along the way to a division title or a small hole that led to a BP-sized leak.

The next 10 days are the most crucial of the season; whoever is nestled in first come August 20 will be the odds-on favorites to win the division.

It’s Black and White.


Check out this article along with other examples of Ryan’s work at sportshaze.com, where he is the source for Blackhawks and White Sox coverage.


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com