I'm just kidding; we all know that Timo was DFA'd from the St. Louis Cardinals in late August, now, don't we? Of course. Which is precisely when the White Sox should have signed him. Timo was, after all, a somewhat integral piece of the 2005 White Sox championship run. And when I say "integral," I use that term as loosely as one can possibly imagine. Timo was much less integral than, say, even Carl Everett was (also DFA'd, by the Mariners, this August), who had 23 homers and 87 RBI in 2005. Carl Everett is, though, I think, bat shit crazy. This team doesn't need bat shit crazy right now. They need Timo.
There's always something I liked about Timo. Maybe it's because he wore the lucky number 7. Or maybe it's because I'm taller than him. Anyway, I was thinking that since the White Sox' playoff chances have been tending to look dimmer with each passing day, they could use a good luck charm. Kinda like how the Yankees always seemed to somehow sign Luis Sojo everytime they won the World Series (I'm sure my facts are off here, but that's the way it seemed in my little world).
No matter. Timo isn't coming back and Luis Sojo is perhaps finally too old to bring his pixie dust to a franchise. This goddamned team is going to have to win games with what they've got, which, this season, has been phenomenal pitching when there is no hitting (not very often) and the best hitters in the league when the pitching takes the day off (much more often). The result has been a hell of a lot of frustration on the South Side, and the realization that World Series titles are mysterious, fragile, and fleeting mistresses.
At the time of this writing, Freddy Garcia -- yes, THAT Freddy Garcia, he of the nearly 5 ERA and bong-hitting pleasures -- has just had a PERFECT GAME broken up after 7 and 2/3 innings against the LAAAs. I think it is safe to say that no one who has been following the Sox remotely closely this year would have ever, ever, ever expected this from Freddy and his high 80s fastball. Of course, Freddy has also been known to admit that he doesn't try when it's not worth his effort. I guess he and the rest of the pitching staff have decided that, with three weeks left in the season, it's worth their effort, because they've turned in some pretty solid performances dating back to the Red Sox series in Boston.
So with a win today and a Twins loss, the Sox stand at 2-1 on the dreaded West Coast Road Trip and 1.5 games behind the Twinkies and (depending on the Tigers game tonight), either 3 or 4 games back of the division leading Tigers. The Sox have 16 games left in the season: 3 at Oakland, 3 vs. Detroit, 4 vs. Seattle, 3 at Cleveland, and 3 at Minnesota to close out the season. Obviously those games against Detroit and Minnesota loom large. Being a realist, I'm going to rule out a sweep of either of those series, meaning the ChiSox can only pick up a game against either team in those series (having won the coin toss, a playoff game with either Detroit or Minnesota will be played in Chicago). So going into that final weekend, they need to be no worse than one game down of Minnesota.
Let's take an absolute best-case scenario for the White Sox: they take 2 of 3 from all remaining teams (and 3 of 4 from Seattle), putting their record for the final 16 at 11-5. Not completely out of the question, and it's certainly hard for me to see them doing any better than that. The Twins have 17 games remaining at Cleveland (4), at Baltimore (3), at Boston (3), finishing at home against KC (4) and the White Sox (3). Now it's key that apparently Francisco Liriano may very well be out (or at the very least less than 100%) the rest of the regular season, particularly when it comes down to that final series in Minnesota. Let's say the Twinkies go 9-8 the rest of the way, dropping series to Boston and the Chisox, splitting against Cleveland, and taking 2 of 3 from the Orioles. Entirely conceivable, and probably about the best case possible for the White Sox. The Tigers could collapse too, but they'd have to go 7-10 the rest of the way to give the White Sox a chance, and they have 6 games left against the Royals.
If the White Sox are a game worse (10-6) than my prediction (finishing with 94 wins), then a playoff game with the Twins is imminent. So after all that analysis, it pretty much comes down to this: the Sox just have to win the series with the Tigers and, more importantly, Minnesota and take care of business against everyone else. The margin of error for the Sox doesn't really get any tighter than this. Check back in another week after the Tigers series and all of this will become much more clear.
But I still think there's a playoff game in store somewhere in there. Call up Timo, Kenny Williams, call up Timo. Even if he just sits in the dugout and farts on Sandy Alomar all game.