After losing their best hitter, Carlos Quentin, for just about all of September, the White Sox nearly missed the playoffs this season, and needed to win three straight games against three different teams to get to Tampa. The reason for this is because the White Sox offense lost any kind of consistency it had while Quentin has been relegated to the bench.
They're a team that relies heavily on the home run, and without Quentin in the lineup they've become more long ball dependent than ever before. While Carlos still lead the team with 36 homers this season, he's the one White Sox slugger who decides to throw some doubles, singles, and walks in his arsenal as well, and when Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome hit their moonshots, he's usually on base.
Of course, not having Quentin available for their series against the Tampa Bay Rays won't help their chances to get by the young upstarts, but should they pull it off, Carlos thinks he might be available for the ALCS.
But the subsiding pain has raised Quentin's confidence to the point where he thinks he could be ready should the Sox advance to the AL Championship Series.
"I think they see me with the tape on my hand and bat in my hand," Quentin said Wednesday before hitting off a batting tee. "They notice that and notice me taking swings. I know I'm trying to get back and prepare to contribute to the team.
"I'm looking forward to swinging it and then judge how it feels. As long as it feels like it's feeling better, we'll keep pushing it.
"I have to be smart about that. We're using it as a gauge to determine how to proceed. But the pain has decreased."
Quentin also went on to say that even if his wrist still hurts, as long as the doctors say he can't injure it any further, he'd be willing to play through the pain. While there's no question that a healthy Quentin's return would be a huge boost to the White Sox offense -- again, should they advance -- I'm still not convinced he's going to be able to get back in time.
Even if his wrist is healed enough to play, I'm not sure how big of an impact Carlos can have when he hasn't played in a month, and has no doubt lost some strength in his wrist.