UI Sox fans mourn team’s loss

Justin Geiger, senior in ACES, reacts to the White Sox loss on Monday. Erica Magda

Justin Geiger, senior in ACES, reacts to the White Sox loss on Monday. Erica Magda

By Alex Paull

After a wacky finish made the White Sox playoff bound, the cat that the team came to resemble turned out to be one life short of sending the series to a Game 5 in Tampa Bay.

The White Sox rode into the playoffs on a wave of momentum after clinching a postseason spot in a one-game playoff against the Minnesota Twins

Ultimately, the joyride came to a screeching halt against the Tampa Bay Rays in Monday’s 6-2 loss.

The combination of ineffective pitching, along with a poor display from the Sox’ leadoff hitter, Orlando Cabrera, who finished 2-for-16 in the series, whipped up a recipe for defeat.

Cheering on a team defined by the longball and strong starting pitching, White Sox fans on campus were more concerned with the team’s ability to establish and maintain leads.

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“I was definitely concerned with long relievers and the offense,” said Tom Kasper, junior in ACES. “We don’t maintain the ability to score runs without hitting home runs. We have no speed, and we don’t hit for average.”

It was the absence of their strengths, however, that ended up killing the cat. Sporting a realigned rotation, thanks to the starters having to pitch on short rest to reach the playoffs, the White Sox ended up dishing out the long ball more than hitting their share.

The performance of starting pitcher Javier Vazquez in Game 1 was the beginning of the end in the eyes of some.

“Without a doubt, I was the most concerned with Javier Vazquez coming into the series,” said Joey Mancari, junior in AHS. “I was worried about him pitching Game 1. I thought that if there was some way to pitch around him we would be fine, but that goes back to if they didn’t play on Monday and Tuesday (to get into the playoffs). We could have had Javier pitch at home later in the series.”

While Vazquez could be deemed the perfect culprit for the demise, with his underwhelming 12-16 record heading into the playoffs, the rest of the rotation did not pitch too much better. Except for John Danks, who picked up the only win in the series for the Sox, no starter gave up less than four earned runs. Along with Danks, Mark Buehrle was the only other Sox pitcher to make it out of the fifth inning.

“I was expecting Gavin Floyd to pitch a lot better,” Kasper said. “I was expecting the energy to be a lot higher and the pitching to be a lot better after a crazy ride to get into the playoffs. Instead, they kind went back to the problems they had prior to the three awesome wins in a row.”

Taking the bad pitching into account, fans realized that in order to win games the Sox had to manufacture runs, which the hitters were unable to do.

“I blame the series on the hitting,” Mancari said. “In Game 3, we had 13 men stranded on base, 11 in scoring position. If you get two runs on 11 hits, you aren’t going to win playoff games.”