The White Sox could conceivably lose 100 games this season. They more likely will end up with 98 or 99 losses.
Monday night’s 12-1 blowout over the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field significantly reduces the White Sox chances for a 100-loss season.
The South Siders need only to win four more times in their final 12 games to avoid what would amount to only the fourth triple-digit loss season in club history and the first since 1970.
But whether they lose 97, 98, 99 or 100, or even if they had won 88 games, none of it would matter to Adam Dunn unless a postseason berth was achieved. At this point in his career the slugger --- who blasted his 32nd home run in support of Erik Johnson’s first career victory on Monday --- has a playoffs-or-bust mentality.
“It’s another wasted season,” Dunn said before Monday’s game. “I could care less what happens if you don’t make the playoffs, and we’re in the same boat as we were last year. And the year before and the year before and the year before.”
Dunn has appeared in 1,862 games in his career after Monday’s contest. Now in his 13th season, Dunn has never played in the postseason. He came close in 2008 with the Arizona Diamondbacks and again last season.
But his 1,862 games without a playoff appearance are the most games by an active player in the majors, per baseball-reference.com. The stretch also is the 23rd longest in baseball history.
Dunn had hoped he would be talking about the end of his streak about now and not another missed opportunity.
With the majority of the 2012 team back, one that was in first place for 117 days and stayed in the pennant race until the final week, the White Sox left Glendale, Ariz. this spring a confident bunch.
With Chris Sale and Jake Peavy atop the rotation and a better bullpen, the White Sox believed they could challenge the Detroit Tigers and/or compete for a wild-card spot. Bringing back a defense that committed a MLB-low 70 errors last season, the White Sox would stress run prevention.
But that defense never surfaced, injuries hit the starting rotation hard and the offense is one of the worst in team history. A team that one reached 24-24 with a May sweep of the Miami Marlins has now almost guaranteed itself the No. 3 pick in next June’s amateur draft.
Even so, the White Sox are hopeful they can turn things around quickly and Dunn too is optimistic.
His priority isn’t to move up the all-time home run chart -- his fourth-inning shot was No. 438 of his career -- but to play for a World Series ring.
“I wouldn’t be playing if I didn’t,” Dunn said. “That’s what my goal is, and I think that’s what everyone’s should be. It doesn’t matter what you do, if you don’t put yourself in a position to win a ring, then you’ve got to look forward and go get them next year.”