11:11 PM CDT, June 20, 2012
It is the BP Cup, right?
And that's British Petroleum, right?
And Britain is in Europe, right?
Then how, pray tell, could we have missed the chance to have some drama Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field?
The Cup should have been up for grabs to the winner of the sixth and final City Series game, not resting comfortably behind the front desk of the stadium lobby. The White Sox secured it a month ago, with their sweep at Wrigley Field, the ruling being that it was theirs because the worst they could do was a 3-3 split of the six games, and in that case it stays with the defending champ.
Huh? Why not have splits decided the way they are in the UEFA Champions League? They use aggregate goals to determine home-and-away playoff series.
In this case, we're talking aggregate runs. And going into the Randy Wells-Gavin Floyd matchup, that stood dead even at 20-20.
Imagine the drama.
The winner of the game would win the Cup, which is only as it should be.
So, Dale Sveum, were the Cubs cheated out of their rightful chance to win the Cup?
That was the first question put to Sveum on Wednesday afternoon, and his eyes turned all glassy.
"I don't even know what you're talking about,'' he said. "I don't even know how that works. Winning tonight will be fine.''
But he didn't. After Gavin Floyd pitched around David DeJesus' leadoff double in the third, the White Sox crushed the Cubs 7-0.
And Sveum was steamed — or at least Alejandro De Aza thought so.
After Manny Corpas hit De Aza with his first pitch in the eighth inning, the little center fielder stood for a long time at home plate, refusing to walk to first base. Once he did, umpire Bill Miller entered into a curious exchange with the Cubs' bench.
De Aza said afterward he believed Corpas drilled him intentionally, acting on orders from Sveum or someone else.
"Me and the pitcher are cool, we're friends,'' De Aza said. "… I think they told him to hit the first guy.''
De Aza said he didn't do anything during the game that would have created such a response. I asked him if there was anything his team did.
"Maybe,'' De Aza said. "Maybe there was something in the game. Honestly, I don't know.''
Sveum provided no background information on the incident.
"He hit him,'' he said about Corpas. "It happens sometimes.''
The White Sox had led the Central for 18 days before Tuesday, but had that run ended when they could not score off Carlos Marmol.
The biggest development of the series came Monday, when John Danks got his MRI results back. His continued absence with a strained shoulder means the Sox badly need Gavin Floyd and Philip Humber to improve, as rookie Jose Quintana isn't taking anyone's place now.
Since his breakout season in 2008, Floyd has been valuable mostly because of his durability. He takes his turns and turns in ordinary results — 33-37, 4.17 ERA from 2009 through '11. He's at a point in his career where he's paid to be better than that, but the reality is he's regressing.
Floyd's ERA is headed up for the fourth year in a row, sitting at an ugly 5.20 after his 61/3 scoreless innings against the Cubs.
"Gavin just pitched a great game,'' manager Robin Ventura said, adding that Floyd "gave us what we needed.''
White Sox fans have their natural pessimism in mid-season form regarding Floyd and the imperfect Humber, who has a 6.01 ERA despite those nine three-up, three-down innings in Seattle. But the reality is the Sox are still a darling of computers and many analysts, at least in the land of opportunity known as the AL Central.
Conventional wisdom probably sides with the Tigers, who have the division's top trio of big-game hunters in Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. But computers tend to be emotionally distant, and both coolstandings.com and ESPN.com give the better-balanced White Sox about a 65 percent chance to make the playoffs and the Tigers only about a 26-percent chance.
The first-place Indians? Until their run differential is better than minus-31, don't even ask.
As for De Aza, what do you do when you feel like you just got drilled by a team you won't see again for another season?
"Just wear it,'' he said, smiling.
Then he was off to drink champagne from the BP Cup, figuratively, if not literally.
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