Friday, October 14, 2005

White Sox - 5 down, 6 to go…

Sweet – very, very sweet. This was the White Sox and John Garland at their best. Scoring 3 runs in the first inning was huge, especially being capped off by a Konerko 2-run dinger. And beating John Lackey was truly special – that guy has owned the White Sox this year.

It seemed to me that the Angels were never really in this game. I don’t think that the controversial call in game two had anything to do with it as they are much too professional to let something like that bother them. But, for whatever reason, they just seemed to be on their heels the whole game.

The White Sox starters have been nothing short of magnificent. They’ve gone all but two-thirds of an inning in these first three games and have given up a total of five runs and only one walk. One gets the feeling that Ozzie knows he has an advantage in the starting staff and is pushing it to its limit. I think it may be demoralizing the Angels – they may be starting to think that they’re just not good enough to knock the White Sox starters out. The Angels bullpen is, IMHO, marginally better than the White Sox pen. But the White Sox starters are making that a moot point.

The White Sox defense was also outstanding. My favorite play was when they cut down Darin Erstad trying to stretch a double into a triple. Jermaine Dye rifled a throw to the cutoff man, Tadahito Iguchi, and Iguchi, in turn, threw a strike to Joe Crede to nail Erstad. This is not the first time this year that a Dye to Iguchi relay has cut down a runner. I don’t know if the Angels scouting missed this or Erstad or the Angels third base coach decided to take a chance on this play. But running on the Sox defense this year has usually been fatal for the opposing team and this occasion was no exception.

A couple of comments about the TV announcers. Joe Buck is not my favorite play-by-play guy, but he’s usually OK. However, one comment he made in this game was pretty ignorant. He was talking about the “base-running blunders” that have occurred in this series and he cited the example of Aaron Rowand’s attempt to score in game two on an error, a play in which he was thrown out. Uh Joe, in case you hadn’t noticed, Joey Cora, the White Sox third base coach, waved Rowand in. Yes, it was a mistake, but it was a mistake by the coach, not by the base-runner. I’ve always liked Tim McCarver, both as a player and as a color announcer. He really knows the game and it shows in every comment he makes. The question mark for me has been Lou Pinella. I don’t know if this is his first broadcast assignment or not, but it sure has seemed that way. Listening to him in the first game was pretty painful – most of his comments were of the “I agree with you” and “You’re absolutely right” variety – adding nothing of value for the listener. He was a bit better in the second game and, in this third game, he was actually pretty good. He’s starting to make comments about specific managerial moves and doing it from a manager’s perspective – one he knows well. And, most importantly, he’s making comments about things that he thinks should or should not happen, not about something that has already happened. I really enjoy commentary that helps me to understand what happens on the field and Pinella is beginning to contribute to that. Hopefully he’s only going to get better. This crew is OK, but I would take Hawk Harrelson and Darrin Jackson in a heartbeat.

So now it’s on to game four. With a win here or in game five, the Sox can take a strangle-hold on the series.

Go Sox!

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