Wednesday, October 26, 2005

White Sox - 10 down, 1 to go…

Its 1:30 in the morning and the Sox are 1 game away from winning a World Series. What a tremendously hard-fought game this was. Sloppy, but hard fought. It seemed at times as if neither team wanted to win this game and, at other times, it seemed as if they both desperately wanted it. This was epitomized by Juan Uribe’s error on the potential game ending, routine grounder. I don’t know if the ball took a bad hop or he was screened by the runner or he just missed it. But in a (small) way I’m glad it happened because we then had the chance to watch Mark Buerhle pitch in relief and pick up a save.

If I was an Astros fan, I’d be absolutely sick right now. They had so many opportunities to win the game in the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th innings that I, as a Sox fan, grew numb – I was just so sure that the Astros would cash in somewhere. And yet the Sox held them off, somehow, and finally broke through in the 14th on a Home Run by another unlikely hero, Geoff Blum.

I enjoy watching National league-style baseball. You get to see a lot more players and the managers have more decisions to make. I think Ozzie’s coaching experience with the Marlins was a big plus – having given him experience in the National league. Both managers played their cards pretty well. You could blame Garner, I suppose, for bringing in Astacio instead of Rodriguez, but with any game going on that long, sooner or later someone is going to make a critical mistake. Fortunately for the White Sox, it was the Astros who broke first.

The pitching was sloppy on both sides. Yes, the White Sox staff gave up 12 walks, but the Astro pitchers almost matched that by giving up 9. Oswalt didn’t live up to his billing. He only had one or two good innings – the Sox hitters were getting to him the rest of the time. Garland pitched pretty well, giving up only 2 earned runs. With National league baseball being played, i.e. no designated hitters, we finally got to see the rest of the Sox bullpen, ALL of the Sox (and Astro) bullpens. Bobby Jenks pitched well as he was finally able to get his curve ball over, at least most of the time. When the Astro hitters can’t sit on his fastball, it makes it that much more effective. I think Ozzie handled Jenks just right, letting him pitch two full innings. It was enough time for him to get his confidence back, but not enough exposure to the Astros where he might start getting hit again. And Marté finally stepped up for the team. He looked good in his first inning of work and looked very good in his last inning – throwing the ball like he did two years ago. It was a shame that Uribe’s error cost him the save, but it sure is nice to know that maybe this guy is back on track. With the possible loss of Hernandez and at least one, and maybe two more National league-style games yet to be played, the Sox are going to need Marté.

And no one can say that the White Sox got the calls in this game. The Home Run that was given to Mike Lamb clearly wasn’t – and should have been only a single or maybe a double. And this time Jermaine Dye did get hit by a pitch, but the umpire didn’t award him first base. There was also a number of borderline/bad balls and strike calls, too, but they seemed to even out over both teams.

So, on to game four and a chance to sweep. Who woulda’ thunk it?


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