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Sox fans can brace for a wreck

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



The company line was spewed throughout the weekend.

General manager Ken Williams talked about talent and the ‘‘ability to turn this around and turn it around quickly.’’

He made it seem like it couldn’t get any lower.

On Tuesday night, it did. Lower by about 6 feet after Minnesota Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano — he of the 9.13 ERA heading into the series against the Sox — no-hit the hapless South Siders in their own backyard 1-0. A hammer, a few nails, some dirt on top and a headstone. Rest in peace, you $125 million pile of dung.

Not since Torii Hunter made catcher Jamie Burke road-kill in 2004 have the Sox been this embarrassed at home. And it came at the hands of the Twins again.

With the loss, the Sox are back in last place in the American League Central at 11-20.

Asked about being no-hit by a struggling pitcher such as Liriano, all manager Ozzie Guillen could say was, ‘‘That’s the way we roll, I guess.

‘‘As a manager, I just take it as a loss. As a player, they might take it a different way. I wasn’t in the lineup. What can you say as a manager? ‘Let’s go!’ They have to go out there and perform.’’

Now the sobering part of an ‘‘All In’’ campaign-turned-bad joke: There is no help coming.

Not now, not any time soon.

That’s a statement you’re just going to have to wrap your arms around and embrace.

Nobody’s going anywhere

Hitting coach Greg Walker isn’t getting fired today. And for those armchair general managers who have an inflated self-worth because they finished first in their fantasy baseball leagues two out of the last three years, you’re not getting
Guillen’s head on a platter, either.

Rule No. 1: You don’t get rid of a top-five manager in his prime. Rule No. 2: You don’t get rid of the man solely responsible for your team being relevant. Rule No. 3: You don’t get rid of a man who knows where all the bodies are buried by your organization and would have a tell-all book on the New York Times’ best-seller list by the time the winter meetings hit in December.

That’s what’s really depressing about Sox baseball these days: all kinds of problems and no one person to hold accountable. It’s a slow-motion car wreck in which we all have to fasten our seat belts, close our eyes and hope that the glass fragments don’t cut too deeply.

Even if it doesn’t play out well for the Sox, there is very little flexibility in shoveling out of the mess. That’s what should keep Williams up at night and make him feel a little uneasy about his current standing.

‘‘They made this team to win,’’ catcher Ramon Castro said. ‘‘This is a low point. We’re not playing the way we’re expected to, but we’re human. Hopefully, we can make this thing better.’’

They better because their GM can’t.

This is a team full of unmovable contracts or players performing so poorly they would have trouble landing a spot on the Island of Misfit Toys.

So what deck chairs can be tossed overboard if the S.S. Sox-tanic continues to sink deeper into icy water?

Pitchers, anyone?

There’s pitcher Mark Buehrle, who said he would waive his no-trade clause and is in the final year of a four-year deal. There’s pitcher Edwin Jackson, who is in the final year of a contract that pays him $8.75 million. There’s pitcher Gavin Floyd, who is attractive because he’s fiscally locked in through 2012 with a $9.5 million club option for 2013. The problem with Floyd is he’s a three-month pitcher, thanks to no-shows in April and May, lights-out June, July and August, then dinged up in September.

Then there’s Carlos Quentin. He will bring the most value in a deal, but the Sox would have to be sold on the fact that Dayan Viciedo is ready.

Meet your 2011 White Sox!

An even more depressing thought is if the Sox continue to
spiral downward and can move some pieces, what are they then? They’re a team with a core group of expensive, underachieving talent surrounded by inexperience. Everything Williams never wanted to be. Too expensive to add to or move, too mediocre to contend.
Major League Baseball no-man’s land.

No, there is only one quick fix, and that falls on the shoulders of the players — shoulders that lately have the strength of a house of cards.

Make sure that seat belt is real tight because this looks like it’s
going to hurt.



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