Sox eliminated quickly, or was it slowly?

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The official end to the Chicago White Sox's playoff chances only seemed to be a long time coming.

Some might consider it to have happened in a flourish.

Heading into what was believed to be a key series at Detroit on Sept. 2, a sweep of the Tigers could have put the White Sox 2½ games back. But the series went the other way, and the 8½-game deficit ended the hopes of even the most optimistic follower.

That first week of September that finally signaled the end, but it wasn't until Thursday that the late-season math finally caught up to them.

“Everyone knows it’s a very disappointing season, a very inconsistent season, but we got to try to finish it as strong as we can,” manager Ozzie Guillen said after the defeat. “We should play better. I thought with the club we have, I thought we’d have a better season and have a better shot to win the division, but obviously, it’s not going the way we want it to go.”

Since the start of September, the White Sox have gone 5-10, moving from hope to nope in a matter of two weeks.

Guillen is trying to dangle a second-place carrot in front of his team, but right now they just look defeated. Whether or not they can regroup over the final two weeks and finish with their heads held high remains in question.

Guillen said he isn’t prepared to make any drastic lineup changes.

“No, we’re going to continue to play the guys who should be play,” Guillen said. “The kids are playing right now. But no, we got to go through the season.”

Aside from playing Donny Lucy and Eduardo Escobar every day, Guillen has already turned things over to guys like Dayan Viciedo, Alejandro De Aza and Tyler Flowers. It’s possible Guillen could eventually use reliever Addison Reed in the late innings of games the White Sox are winning.

For now, though, there is nothing to do for teams in the American League Central but to salute the effort the Detroit Tigers put forward over the last month.

“And the team we were chasing, they should be there,” Guillen said. “They earned that spot. They played good enough to be where they are right now.”