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TA: Sox 'not too far off' from achieving World Series goal

/ by Vinnie Duber
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
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Watching the Chicago White Sox get beat soundly by the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series, it looked like the South Siders have a ways to go when it comes to matching up evenly with baseball's big boys.

Setting World Series expectations in spring training, the White Sox did not achieve what they hoped, bowing out in disappointing fashion after winning the same number of playoff games they did a year earlier — before they hired Hall-of-Fame manager Tony La Russa to take the team to the promised land.

But one of the team's leaders doesn't think there's as big a gap as some might see between where the White Sox are and where the White Sox want to be: finishing a campaign hoisting the World Series trophy.

RELATED: Abreu's simple key to avoiding same playoff fate in 2022

"We're not too far off," White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson said. "We've got the pieces. It's just a matter of it being our time. Right now wasn't our time, and we understand that. So we've just got to go back to the drawing board, come back again next year, and hopefully it will be our time and hopefully the guys will feel it and be a lot more hungry than the other team and understand the mission."

Anderson, like José Abreu did a day earlier, claimed the 2021 campaign a successful one, and certainly he's not wrong in pointing out the progress the organization made in winning the AL Central crown and bringing postseason baseball back to the South Side, two things that happened for the first time in 13 years.

 

But it was Anderson, among others, who cited the division championship as only a first step toward what the team wanted to achieve this season. They had their eyes on the big prize all year long, and their stay in the postseason ended things with a thud.

"You had two pretty good ball clubs going at it, and obviously, they were the better ball club," Anderson said of the Astros. "They won the series. They put together more at-bats than we did, they came up with more clutch hits than we did. But I know we competed all the way to the end in that whole series. But they ended up the better team.

"I guess they did a great job doing their homework and understanding what kind of hitters we are and attacking us in certain ways. But we competed, we competed all the way to the end. We gave everything we've got. It's not like we went out there and tried to let them beat us.

"We've got to learn from it and come back ready to go. We understand what we did, we're going to take this offseason, let that soak in, as well, and come back ready to go."

Much earlier than anticipated, the White Sox are shifting their focus to 2022.

Perhaps frustrating fans always looking for a boatload of offseason changes, the White Sox might not have many changes to make. The team has been constructed to be in contention for a years-long stretch, and with only a couple positions that don't have a long-term fixture and a starting rotation already fully stocked for next season, it will mostly be the same group of players who just came up empty against the Astros that's leaned on to avoid the same fate in 2022.

But just like their experience in the playoffs in 2020 fueled their focused mission to get back to the postseason this season, Anderson believed this experience against the Astros will only increase the White Sox' desire to produce a different result next year.

"We know what the ultimate goal is," he said. "It's always going to be motivation to get back to what we're trying to do."

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