Saturday, October 22, 2005

White Sox - 8 down, 3 to go…

Sweet, sweet, sweet – Sox take game one of the World Series 5-3.

This was a typical Sox win. Good starting pitching (though Contreras was not at his best), great bullpen pitching, outstanding defense and just enough hitting to get the job done.

And, as usual in a Sox win, they had a chance to blow the game wide open, but Pierzynski hit into a bases-loaded double play to end the 6th inning. They did put an insurance run on the board in the 9th, though, and they’ve started making a habit of doing that. If they keep that up, this series will be over quick.

It’s great to see Scott Podsednik back to full strength. He’s running well and is hitting well. As long as he keeps that up, the Sox are very tough to beat. It was no accident that the Sox swoon in the second half of the season coincided with Podsednik going on the DL. Once he came back, he reignited the Sox offense. One guy who hasn’t been hitting well for the Sox in the post season is Tadahito Iguchi. I don’t know if he’s in a funk or if it’s just that the opposing pitchers have finally figured him out. Fortunately, Dye, Konerko and Everett have picked up the slack and having been driving Scotty home – a role that Tadahito filled so often this year. His defense is still stellar, though, and hopefully his hitting will come around.

I was very happy to see the Sox hitters break through against the vaunted Astro’s bullpen. They scored both their 4th and 5th runs off of Astro relievers. I said in my last post that I thought the Astro bullpen was better than the Sox pen, if you consider all the pitchers in both of them. But the Sox starting pitching is negating that Astro advantage, just as they negated the same advantage the Angels had. By going so deep into the game, and often finishing them, Ozzie only needs to use one or, at most, two relievers. And the Sox 1-2 bullpen punch of Cotts and Jenks is as good as it gets. If the Sox had to go into their fourth and fifth relievers, I think they could get in trouble. But again, the Sox starting pitching is making all that a moot point.

And I loved it when Jenks blew away Bagwell. Bagwell got on in an earlier at-bat by allowing himself to be hit by a pitch. It’s aggravating, but he’s been doing it his whole career and he’s certainly not going to stop now. He never let himself be hit by a Jenks fastball, though, I wonder why. I've not been a huge fan of Jenks in that I think major leaguers can hit anyone's fastball if they're sitting on it, even one that is thrown as hard as Jenk's is. But he had his curve ball working tonight (I think he threw only two but they were both for strikes) and when he has both of those pitches working, then he can really dominate.

The umpires did OK in this game – no really controversial calls. And the two close ones at first base were both called correctly. Joe West’s strike zone was a bit inconsistent, but nothing outrageous.

I’m not going to attend any of the games in person – the price is just too steep. But I have it pretty good at home. I have a 58” Pioneer High Definition screen with a Zenith High Definition satellite receiver. The picture is outstanding. And I timed it perfect tonight – I turned on the TV just seconds before the first pitch so I didn’t have to listen to any of that pre-game crap.

On to game two and things are looking pretty good right now…

Go Sox!!

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