Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Are the Stars aligned for “Sox-cess”?

You can’t ask for a much more favorable setup for the White Sox. They get an opponent that is tired and drained, and maybe a little hung over. The opponent’s star pitcher has injured his arm. The Sox are rested and have their own starting pitching set up just the way they want. And, they have home field advantage.

So why do I feel so uneasy? I think it’s because now it seems like the Sox are expected to win this series. They’ve been the underdog all year long and most analysts picked them to lose to Boston in the ALDS. All of a sudden they’re the favorites. I’m not used to this feeling and it kind of creeps me out. Something else which makes me nervous is José Contreras, who has been outstanding for so many starts recently, is due to have a bad game somewhere along the line. I just hope it’s not until next year.

Just a couple comments about the Yankee-Angel series; it’s amazing that Alex Rodriguez, the man who was paid a salary of nearly 26 million dollars this year ($25,705,118.00 to be exact according to Wikipedia), failed to drive in a single run in the entire series. Not one RBI. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. He’s a great player, no doubt about it. But that’s an awful lot of money to pay for no production, even for George Steinbrenner. A-Rod’s bouncing into a double-play in the ninth inning of game five was typical of his series, one I’m sure he wants to forget as quickly as possible. Once again, the Yankees come up a little bit short. It’s too bad, because I think the Sox would have an easier time against them than they will against the Angels. And, it’s so much more fun to beat the Yankees…

The Angels are a terrific club. Ozzie said months ago that he thought the Angels were the best team the Sox had played and I have to agree. The Angels have solid starting pitching, outstanding relief pitching, excellent defense and they score all the runs they need. And they have one thing the Sox don’t have, a bona fide superstar in Vlad Guerrero.

But I love the way the Sox are playing right now. The way they took the last two games from Detroit to clinch, swept the Indians to knock them out of playoff contention and then swept the Red Sox to get to the ALCS was no fluke. They’re playing about as well as they can right now. If the Sox have an Achilles heel in this series, it’s their bullpen. Damaso Marté is a real worry. If this guy was pitching like he was 2 years ago, he’d be a tremendous weapon out of the bullpen. As it is, he’s a heart attack waiting to happen. I understand Ozzie needs to keep him on the roster so he can have two lefties in the pen for his late inning match-ups. I just hope the Sox can get up by 7 or 8 runs in a game late and then are able to bring him in for an inning or two of relief in a non-pressure situation. But we’ll probably see him with the game on the line and then I and every other Sox fan will be hoping and praying we see the 2003 version of Marté, not the 2005 version. The other bullpen worry is Dustin Hermanson’s questionable back. Hopefully Politte, Cotts, Jenks, Vizcaino and Hernandez will get the job done on their own.

Almost every Sox game I’ve seen this year (and I’ve watched most of them) has been of the pressure-cooker variety and I don’t expect the games in this series to be any different. I pick the Sox to take this series in 6 games and go on to meet the Cardinals in the World Series…

Go Sox!

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com