For those of you who are angry about the Sox losing two of three to last-place Baltimore this weekend, skeptical of their chances of winning the AL Central and scared about what might happen in the next 11 games against the Red Sox, Yankees, Twins and Cubs, join the club.
But while it looks pretty bleak right now, let’s all try to snap out of our funk and take a trip down memory lane–specifically back to June 12-18, 2000.
Beginning a seven-game road swing to Cleveland (3) and New York (4), the Sox owned a two-game lead over the Indians. Although the ’09 trip includes four contending teams who are all money at home, the ’00 Tribe and the eventual World Series champion Yankees, were no slouches.
These were the Indians of Manny Ramirez, Kenny Lofton, Omar Vizquel and the Alomars, Roberto and Sandy. The future World Champs boasted the likes of Tino Martinez, Derek Jeter, Paul O’Neill and Bernie Williams.
History shows that, miracles of miracles, the Sox swept the seven games by overcoming the likes of a vintage Bartolo Colon in Cleveland and Andy Pettitte, David Cone and El Duque Hernandez at Yankee Stadium. The South Siders, led offensively by Ray Durham, Jose Valentin, Frank Thomas, Paul Konerko, Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Lee, outscored the Tribe 23-14 in the three games and the Yankees, 42-14 in the four-game sweep, climaxed by a 17-4 victory. Cal Eldred (2), James Baldwin, Jim Parque, Mike Sirotka, Bill Simas and Kevin Beirne were the winning pitchers.
I guess the moral of this story is not to look at the upcoming road trip and waive the white towel. In 2000, the Sox lead over the Indians went from 2 to 7 1/2 games over this stretch–and they were ultimately crowned the A.L. Central champs.