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Hold Your Ground: White Sox Next 9 Can Make or Break Season

The next nine games could define the White Sox season. Doing so without their best player makes the task all that much more daunting.

White Sox Schedule Tim Anderson Injury Update
Photo: Paul Beaty/AP

I’ve been talking about it a lot. Our Chicago White Sox are in the midst of a 50-game gauntlet against some of the stiffest competition in the sport, that was going to likely define their season. To this point, the team has held up fine, going 16-11 a little over halfway through this brutal stretch. The games themselves haven’t always been pretty, but they’ve found a way to add tallies in the left-hand column more than the right, and that is what is most important.

Then on Sunday, our collective hearts went into our stomachs as Tim Anderson was helped off the field with a groin injury. It goes without saying that TA7 has been the lone, consistent bright spot for this team through the first two months of this season. In fact, he has been the one player that the White Sox could ill afford to lose for any length of time. Well, now a team that hasn’t been able to find its footing all year must do so without its best player.

Most of us feared the worst when the team’s heart and soul left the field Sunday. I know I was expecting to have an announcement today that we wouldn’t see Anderson for the remainder of the season, but there’s a glimmer of hope:

Seeing TA only being placed on the 10-day injured list has led to some optimism that perhaps the injury isn’t as severe as we all feared. For a team in desperate need of good injury news, this would certainly be a welcomed sight. How the Sox face this next obstacle will tell us much about what they are made of as a unit and whether they can right the ship that has been floundering all year.

Stand And Fight

The absence of the team’s best player and emotional leader for any length of time at any point in the schedule would be difficult. However, it coming now makes the task even more daunting. The Chicago White Sox will begin play north of the border tonight five games behind the first-place Minnesota Twins. The Sox’s next nine games were already shaping up to be the most grueling of the 50-game stretch I previously wrote about. Now, they must carry on without the player that has carried them all season.

Beginning tonight, the Sox will embark on a six-game road trip against AL East heavyweights Toronto and Tampa Bay. As if that wasn’t going to be grueling enough, they come home next Tuesday and will have the sports pre-imminent power, the Los Angeles Dodgers, awaiting them.

Within this 50-game stretch, the next nine games may define if there is hope for the remainder of the season or not. The Sox can ill afford to have a 2-7 or worse stretch. Sitting five games back already, they must avoid seeing that deficit balloon to 8-10 games. I fear if that is the case, it will be the death nail in the coffin of the 2022 White Sox season.

You’re Counted On Or Counted Out

For an offense that has been devoid of consistency all season, losing their lone consistent performer has left the fan base with feelings of dread regarding the next two weeks. It is incumbent, now more than ever, for the likes of Yasmani Grandal and Yoan Moncada to emerge from their season-long doldrums. Someone has to step up in the absence of Tim Anderson, and two of the team’s most visible underachievers to this point would be welcomed to begin their respective re-emergences to the “back of their baseball cards.”

If this team is able to get an uptick in performance from commodities that were believed to be known coming into the season, they may be able to tread water while Anderson recoups. However, if we continue to see more of the same from these two, all hope may be gone for this team. The time is now for these two core pieces to rise to the occasion before it is too late.

Hold On For Dear Life

The next nine games could be the defining moment of the season for the Chicago White Sox. Will they rise to the occasion or crumble under the pressure? A disastrous stretch could very well sink the season. However, if they are able to emerge from this relatively unscathed in the standings, maybe, just maybe, the tide could turn on the season.

Tim Anderson’s injury couldn’t come at a worse time for this team, but these are the cards they have been dealt. It is now up to this group to rise up if they still fancy themselves a championship contender. It’s going to be a stressful week and a half for us as fans. So sit back, relax, and strap it down.

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Former scrub JUCO pitcher

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