If Dayan Viciedo was expected to save a flailing White Sox offense in June, the pressure would've been fairly significant. But not as significant as the pressure facing the him right now.
The Viciedo situation is a lot like the Manny Ramirez one last year -- not in terms of money or crazy or anything, but in that both players were brought to the Sox in late August seemingly as a last gasp for a team that can't help but continue to fall farther out of first place.
No matter how good Manny's production could've been last September, it wasn't going to save the White Sox from being buried by the Twins.
And no matter how good Viciedo is in the next month, it won't save the White Sox from the Tigers -- unless Detroit goes into freefall, which seems unlikely.
Although, given Ozzie Guillen's attempt to take the spotlight off Viciedo, he -- knowingly or unknowingly -- highlighted the burden on the 22-year-old Cuban. See Jim's piece on it:
Guillen prepared everybody for the former outcome. Viciedo will face Michael Pineda later today, and Brett Ballantini tweeted that Guillen found this funny, "chortling" with overtones of "good luck with that." Now, Pineda has talent. He also has a 6.20 ERA since the start of July, and the Sox beat him earlier this year. Nevertheless, he receives the Johan Santana treatment. Leader of men, that Ozzie. -- South Side Sox
This has the stench of Guillen expecting Viciedo to fail. Michael Pineda? Dayan has no chance! (laughter) He'll probably strike out four times! Is he better than Dunn? Who's your god now?
And for Guillen, Viciedo almost needs to fail -- if he succeeds, the daily queries into why the hell Viciedo wasn't up one or two months ago may be too much to bear. Failure saves face, while success won't bring a division title.
Obviously, Guillen actually doesn't want Viciedo to fail. This isn't some grand conspiracy against the guy. But at the same time, Ozzie's human, and we like to know we were right about something from time to time.
For Guillen, weak production from Viciedo would mean -- at least in the eyes of some, myself not included -- he was right in continually blocking Viciedo's path to the majors over the summer.
So the pressure is on Viciedo from the fans to lead the Sox back into the playoff race, but also from his manager to prove him wrong. That's a tall order, and hopefully Viciedo is up to the latter.