At times this year all three phases of the White Sox game has been good. Unfortunately for Sox fans, those instances have been far outweighed by the times the Sox have struggled in those same three phases.

When the hitting was there, the bullpen and defense were terrible. When the bullpen and defense started to get their act together, the bats decided to go missing in action.

Now the White Sox are faced with a familiar uphill battle to get into the race for the AL Central.

Last Season, the Chicago White Sox opened up the year with a horrid start, going 24-33 through June 8th. However, the White Sox were able to right the ship by winning 25 of their next 30 games, and going into the All-Star break the Sox held a one-and-a-half game lead in the division.

However, the White Sox fizzled out in August and September, and despite winning 88 ballgames, the Sox came up six games short in the divisional race and an old adage rang true once again.

You can't win the division in April, but you sure as hell can lose one.

This year the Sox are faced with a similar debacle, losing 10 of 11 games after a respectable 7-4 start (could have been an 11-1 start if it weren't for atrocious bullpen play.)

After a victory last night on the back of six and one-third innings of no-hit baseball from 28-year-old right-hander Phil Humber, the White Sox sit at 9-14 with five games to play in the month of April. 

And these next five games could prove critical for the White Sox if they have any hopes of getting back into this race. Getting back near the .500 mark may be a tall task, but the Sox can't afford to give up any more ground in the division.

The largest obstacle for the Sox at this point appears to be a drastically underachieving lineup. After opening the year with 62 runs in their first nine games, the Sox bats have cooled off. They've scored just 26 runs in their last 14 games.

There seems to be no question over whether or not the Sox CAN hit, but the question at this point has to be, can they hit in time?

Chicago's attention will be on the Hawks and Bulls tonight, and justifiably so. Each team has an opportunity to win their first round playoff series this evening.

However, tomorrow I'm heading straight for the White Sox box score, and I'm hoping to see a handful of runs, and more importantly a "W."

The Sox don't have long before they will have played themselves out of this race, and that's why the rest of April is mission critical for Ozzie Guillen and the White Sox.