Cabrera seeks more from White Sox
Shortstop wants to see first-place club perform like one
KANSAS CITY -- With the White Sox holding a 2 1/2-game advantage atop the American League Central entering the last week of the regular season, Orlando Cabrera figures his team has enough of a cushion to reach the postseason.
It's not just about the lead in Cabrera's mind, as it is about the hunger and right attitude shown by the White Sox. The shortstop and leadoff hitter knows a thing or two about playing playoff baseball, having won the World Series with Boston in 2004, and having been with the Angels during the 2005 American League Championship Series and 2007 AL Division Series.
Yet, Cabrera still sees something missing with the 2008 White Sox. He made a vague reference to the problem at Yankee Stadium, but was more specific prior to Sunday's series finale at Kauffman Stadium.
"One of the things we are missing right now is we don't know how to trail," Cabrera said. "Once the other team scores before us, it seems like we lose hope.
"I saw that yesterday. It was really pathetic," Cabrera added.
Cabrera was referring to Kansas City's 5-2 victory over the White Sox on Saturday night, a game in which the Royals held a 3-0 lead after three innings. Cabrera and Jim Thome each knocked out singles to open the first two innings, respectively, but Kyle Davies proceeded to set down 17 straight after Thome's hit.
Part of the credit goes to the Kansas City starter, who received plaudits from the White Sox clubhouse after the game. But in Cabrera's mind, the issue also stems from his team's recent struggles once it gets behind.
The inability to correct such as an issue could make for a short postseason, where the White Sox don't figure to lead from start to finish.
"Exactly, and it bothers me," Cabrera said. "It seems like we get hopeless, and there's no reason why we should. We have the offense to come back, and we have overcome a lot of leads during the year.
"We have some great games where we come back and win it. It seems like most of the time we have that ability during the year, but then we lost it."
When asked about such an issue for his squad, manager Ozzie Guillen pointed to his team's reliance on the home run as a reason for the up-and-down comeback potential.
"You have to hit a home run to get to where you want to get," said Guillen of his team. "I wish we would be more consistent, but we rely too much on the home run."
These comments made by Cabrera certainly were not a total indictment of the White Sox. In fact, they were far from it.
Cabrera simply wants his talented group to follow a request made by Guillen, in that the White Sox are a first-place team and should always feel like one.
"One thing Ozzie said, and it has been in my head the whole year, and I think in one of the meetings I mentioned it, we don't act like we are in first place," Cabrera said. "We don't look like the team to beat. It seems like we are hoping for a win every day, and I don't think that that's the right attitude. Once the other team scores before us, that's what it seems like.
"There are a couple of things that we are missing, but at the end of the day, we have done a pretty good job so far. I think we have enough to go to the postseason. We will see what happens after that."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.