The White Sox were three games ahead of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central Division barely more than two weeks ago on September 18, when they were 81-66. From that point on, however, they'd win only four more games. They lost five in a row, ten of 12, and ultimately 11 of 15.
Was it always intended to be that way? Certainly the Sox overachieved and exceeded expectations. Yet that division was there for the taking, and they didn't take it.
The key game, as I wrote then, was on July 20 in Detroit. I suggested that the team that won that opening game of a series, between the Sox and Tigers, Detroit ace Justin Verlander against Chicago's Jake Peavy, would win the division.
That turned to be the case. The Sox lost that game and the entire three-game series in Detroit, and from that point on they seemed to think the Tigers deserved it. They played it out strong, but Detroit had established itself as the better team, and the Sox went about proving it for them.
They were like Fast Edde Felson in The Hustler after Minnesota Fats has crushed his will.
Well, at least they weren't the Cubs, losing 101 games. That was a marathon—for their fans.