Sunday, October 16, 2005

White Sox - 7 down, 4 to go…

How sweet it is - the White Sox are going to the World Series!!

You could sense the Sox really wanted to finish it tonight. They took the lead three separate times in this game. Even when they got behind, they figured out a way to take the lead back.

José Contreras was solid tonight, if not spectacular. He was behind on several counts, but wound up only walking two batters. Like the first game, he gave up only three runs. He was in trouble a couple of times, but good pitches, good defense and some poor Angel at-bats kept him from giving up the big inning. He got stronger and better all game long, retiring the last fifteen Angel batters that faced him. And, like all the other Sox pitchers, he kept Vlad Guerrero from doing any damage at all. In this series, Guerrero was one for twenty and his only hit was an infield grounder that bounced off of John Garland’s foot. In the series against the Yankees, he drove in zero runs and in this series he drove in only one run. So, one rbi in ten games. I don’t know who was the bigger disappointment to their team, him or A-Rod. And between the two of them, they made nearly forty million dollars this year. I’m sure Kenny Williams is paying attention.

The White Sox defense was solid all series long, especially after the first game. Their gloves took the Angels out of an inning so many times that I think it had to be demoralizing to Mike Scioscia’s team. They knew they had to place the ball perfectly or hit a home run or else they were probably going to be out. With Pierzynski, Uribe, Iguchi and Rowand up the middle, it sets the table for great defense. They have three center fielders patrolling the outfield and they are super-solid at the corners with Crede and Konerko. And there are no pitchers who field their position better than Buerhle and Garland. I love good defense and the White Sox gloves are a joy to watch.

Paul Konerko won the Series MVP trophy and I think it was well deserved. His first inning home runs in games three and four really put the Angels up against it and they just never recovered. And when he drove in the fifth run tonight in the top of the ninth to put the Angels down by two, you could really sense it was the final nail in the coffin.

The umpires did a pretty decent job tonight. There were only two controversial calls, the fan-interference play and the no-ball tag on Pierzynski. Both times the initial call was wrong, but after a brief umpire-team conversation, they reversed the calls and got them right. Balls and strikes were a different matter, but that’s a subject for another time.

I picked the White Sox to beat the Red Sox in five and they did it in three and I picked them to beat the Angels in six and they did it in five. Silly me. In fairness (to me), I didn’t know that Colon would not be pitching in this series when I made my pick. I think he could have been worth a victory for the Angels, but now we'll never know. When I first wrote about this series, I was worred that the Sox bullpen, especially with the troubles that Marté and Hermanson have been having, could prove to be their Achilles heel. But when you only have to use them for two-thirds of an inning over a total of five games, it becomes a non-factor.

The Sox have now won seven of the eight post-season games they’ve played, plus they won eight of their last ten regular season games. This means they’re fifteen and three in their last eighteen games. What a great time to be peaking. Hopefully they can keep it up for one more series. I don’t care who they play in the World Series, the Astros or the Cardinals. The Sox should take care of business and bring the trophy home.

Go Sox!!

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