Saturday, October 15, 2005

White Sox - 6 down, 5 to go…

Baseball, especially playoff baseball, really, really, really needs instant replay. It’s almost embarrassing, the number of calls that have gone the White Sox way in this series (and I say this as a true-blue White Sox fan). A system I’d like to see is something modeled on the way Pro Football does it. In the baseball version, I’d give a manager two challenges per game. If he challenges a play, and wins, it doesn’t count against him, i.e. he still “owns” that challenge. But if he doesn’t win, he loses that challenge. This way, a manager won’t challenge anything other than a call that he truly believes his team was robbed on. In tonight’s game, Angel’s manager Mike Scioscia could have challenged a few plays, the catcher interference play, the pickoff of Posednik at first and the steal at second. He could have and should have won them all. Not that I think it would have made a difference in the outcome of the game, but the Angels and their fans wouldn’t be feeling that they had been jobbed by the umpires…

But enough griping... The Sox won this game tonight, and they deserved to win it. Great pitching, solid defense and clutch hitting has put the White Sox within one game of going to the World Series. If Konerko sees more than one or two breaking balls tomorrow, I’d be really surprised. I had originally picked the Sox to win this series in six games, and I’m sticking with that, but now I think they have an outstanding chance to win it in five. They have, arguably, their best pitcher going tomorrow, in José Contreras. They’re on a roll – everything is going their way, and everything is going against the Angels. Chone Figgins and Vlad Guerrero have been held in check by Sox pitching and, as long as that continues, the Angels have little or no chance to take this series any further.

There was another mistake made tonight by the announcers. Joe Buck said that Dustin Hermanson was the White Sox closer at the beginning of the season. Sorry, Joe, that’s not true. The initial White Sox closer this year was Shingo Takatsu (remember him?). Yes, he didn’t last long, but he was the White Sox closer at the beginning of the season.

Regarding that double-play that wasn’t – the one where the second base umpired ruled (correctly) that Tadahito Iguchi had not tagged second base before he threw to first. The interesting thing about this play is that in Japan, where Iguchi used to play, the runners do not try to take out the guy trying to turn the double-play, so they always tag or stay on second before throwing to first. But in America, of course, taking out the guy trying to turn two is a time-honored tradition. There were several occasions earlier in the year where Iguchi was obviously surprised when a runner barreled into him when he was trying to “turn two”. This was before Uribe or Guillen taught him the “phantom tag” or the “neighborhood play” where it’s only required that he be close to the bag before throwing to first. And how did I know this? Did I study the Japanese leagues? No. Did I interview Tadahito Iguchi and ask him about this? No. I learned it from the White Sox announcer Darrin Jackson, who used to play in Japan. Just another reason why I was that they were doing the announcing rather than the Buck / McCarver / Pinella team.

Anyway, let’s hope that the White Sox can close this out tomorrow…

Go Sox!!

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