Thursday, October 20, 2005

So it’s the Astros…

If I’d of had my druthers, I would have wanted the Sox to play the Yankees in the ALCS and the Cardinals in the World Series. But I guess I’ll just have to be happy with the Sox beating whichever team shows up.

The Astros are a fine team, no doubt about it. After a horrendous start, they played great ball in the last two-thirds of the season. Their starting “Big 3” pitchers, Oswalt, Pettite and Clemens, are as dominant as any other threesome in the game today. But the White Sox have a “Big 4” rotation that has proven, in spades, that they can get the job done. In addition to a deeper starting staff, I think the Sox have a superior defense and somewhat better hitting. I think the Astros have the advantage in the Bullpen, but then again, the Bullpen advantage didn’t do the Angels any good. The White Sox also have home field advantage. I’m not sure if that’s a plus or a minus as they had a better record on the road than they did at home this year. But if does come down to a game seven, having the last at-bat may loom huge.

One possible wild-card in this is that both Clemens and Pettite have World Series experience. Sox starter Orlando Hernandez does, too, but only in relief. Hopefully, the jitters won’t get to the White Sox pitchers, but one never knows.

Another possible wild-card is the umpiring crew, one that Joe West is heading up. Trivia purists note that he was one of 22 umpires who lost their job in 1999 when a mass resignation backfired. West was rehired in 2002 and worked the All-Star game this year as well as in one of the AL Division series. I just hope this crew is good enough so that their calls don’t engender any controversy in this series.

I’ve got to like the Sox chances. They’re playing great ball right now and there doesn’t appear to be any clouds on their horizon. I pick the Sox to win it all in six games.

Go Sox!

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