90 wins not a substitute goal

CHICAGO -- Now that the Minnesota Twins have smashed the White Sox’s hopes of winning the American League Central, a nice fall-back goal would be a 90-victory season … wouldn’t it?

“Not really,” Paul Konerko said of the 79-66 White Sox. “You can’t run away from the goals set at the beginning of the year. The organization put a team together that they felt could compete and win a division. So I’m not a big believer in: I think you try to take positives out of every year for the next. When the question needs to be answered, you have to go back to what you originally thought or said you were going to do and didn’t do.”

What the White Sox couldn’t do was to keep pace with the Twins in the all-important second half. After Gavin Floyd lost to the Twins on Aug. 12, Minnesota took over first place for good. In a matter of six days, the White Sox trailed by five games and were never closer than 3 1/2 the rest of the way.

Nothing about the Twins screams domination -- aside from their catcher perhaps -- so what is it that makes them so dominating?

“I’m not a computer guy, but I always wonder how we lose against these guys,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “In the American League Central that's the team we hit the best against, the team we play the best. The only thing we failed with against Minnesota was our bullpen.”

No, that was the area where the Twins dominated the White Sox. Subtlely, they were as good as them at most everything else to boot.

“They do a lot of little things well,” Konerko said about the Twins. “They are a good balanced team. It’s never just one thing when a team is a good ball club. They’re just a solid team that does a lot of things you need to do to win games.

“We were that team a lot this year. There are teams in the league that are the same. It’s a matter of being consistent and doing it enough over the course of 162. At this point, they have done it eight more times better than us.”

So while everybody talks about the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays as the class of the American League, Guillen has a different favorite to reach the World Series.

“Good baseball wins games, not good talent,” Guillen said. “They put everything together. They made a couple nice plays, they got the ugliest hits anybody can see. They've got six of the ugliest hits I've seen in a long time [on Wednesday night]. We hit five balls right on the nose, and they turned into double plays. There's nothing you can do about it. That's the way it is.”