22.10.05

The World Series: White Sox vs Astros

Well today is the day. The day that in some ways I never thought I’d see. A day that I’ve thought about how it would feel and now that it’s here, I feel… well normal right now. But still deep down, I can feel that little bit of excitement building. By game time I’m sure I’ll be going out of my mind.

Game One of the World Series and the Chicago White Sox are hosting it. How cool is that? How amazing is that? For the first time in 46 years, Chicago and the Southside will be seeing a World Series game live and in their own backyard. The thought alone brings a smile to my face.

As for who’s going to win? Let’s break this down.

Catching:
AJ Pierzynski vs Brad Ausmus
This really isn’t much of a contest. Ausmus is the better defensive catcher, but he’s not the same catcher that he was. Pierzynski has been involved in every big play, he’s always cheering on his teammates, and he plays hard. While Ausmus did have a huge hit in the NLDS, he’s not the threat that AJ is at the plate. And he’s defense behind the plate isn’t enough to strike the fear of God in the White Sox running game.
EDGE: WHITE SOX

First base:
Paul Konerko vs Mike Lamb
Since I think we’ll see Lamb at first more often than Berkman, we’ll draw it up as is. And as is, Konerko is the better player hands down. Lamb is a faster runner, but that’s really about it. Konerko’s glove is solid, and while his range is lacking, it doesn’t hurt the White Sox.
EDGE: WHITE SOX

Second base:
Tadahito Iguchi vs Craig Biggio
Biggio isn’t who he was and he’s somewhat of a liability at second now, but he plays hard and he never gives up. He does the things that you need him to do, be it get hit-by-a-pitch or double in the gap. He can still steal a base if necessary, though don’t look for it. Iguchi has very quietly done a fantastic job for the Sox this year hitting behind runners, driving the ball when necessary, and doing everything he can to win. But Biggio has him here.
EDGE: ASTROS

Third base:
Joe Crede vs Morgan Ensberg
Crede’s got the better glove and he has come up huge in big spots for the White Sox, but Ensberg is the Astros offense at this point. Since teams pitch around Berkman, if Ensberg can get some hits, the Astros will be in these games and win. If he doesn’t, they won’t score more than a run or two. Ensberg is the better bat and gets the nod here, but don’t be shocked if Crede comes up with the bigger hits. Ensberg has 9 RBIs, but no home runs and is hitting .256 in the playoffs.
EDGE: ASTROS

Shortstop:
Juan Uribe vs Adam Everett
Both guys hit in the nine hole… but this isn’t even a contest. Uribe is the best defensive player that no one talks about and can hit every once in a while (with some power too). Everett is a liability at the plate and he’s D isn’t as good as Uribe’s.
EDGE: WHITE SOX

Left Field:
Scott Podsednik vs Lance Berkman
If Pods gets on base, good things happen for the White Sox. He can steal a base, but a leg injury doesn’t make him as much of a threat. Berkman is the other half of the Astros offense. And he’s gotten the job done thus far in the playoffs, 2 home runs, 8 RBIs, and he’s hitting .314. No he’s not the defensive player that Pods is, but he’s a bigger threat at the plate and gets the nod here.
EDGE: ASTROS

Centerfield:
Aaron Rowand vs Chris Burke/Taveras
Even though Rowand didn’t have the greatest ALCS, he’s still been decent in the playoffs. His defense is above average and he plays hard every single play. Burke and Taveras are going to split time in the outfield, I think Taveras is a bigger threat on the field, so any time he’s not out there, I like the Sox chances a whole lot more. Burke has had a nice run in the playoffs, but he can still be pitched to.
EDGE: WHITE SOX

Right field:
Jermaine Dye vs Jason Lane
Dye hasn’t had a great playoffs so far, but neither has Lane. And Dye in almost every area is a bigger threat and a better player. I don’t have much to say about Lane besides that the Sun-Times called him Jerome Lane today. If Dye gets hot, watch out. And he showed some signs in Orange County of heating up.
EDGE: WHITE SOX

DH:
Carl Everett vs Jeff Bagwell
Bagwell has only been to the plate three times in the postseason, Everett 26 times. Bagwell can’t run or play on the field any more, and he might not even be the best option for the Astros at DH, even though I think you have to play him. Everett hasn’t done too much in the postseason, a few singles and still tries to hit home runs too often, but he’s a bigger threat at this point than Bagwell.
EDGE: WHITE SOX

Starting Pitching:
Who knows? Contreras, Buehrle, Garland, and Garcia vs Clemens, Pettitte, Oswalt, and Backe. Those are some good starting pitchers. You’ve got Contreras with the best stuff, Buehrle the fast working warrior, Garland the now doesn’t walk anyone low ball pitcher, and Garcia who would be a #1 starter on a number of teams. Meanwhile the Astros have two #1s in Oswalt and Clemens, maybe the best #2 in Pettitte, and Backe to round things off. The Astros have the best pitcher going into the series in Oswalt, but the White Sox have more depth. If I were to rank them, 1-8, it’d look like this:
Oswalt, Contreras, Buehrle, Pettitte, Garland, Garcia, Clemens, Backe.
I know Clemens is low on the list, but here’s why… he can be beat in the playoffs. He’s 12-8 all time with a 3.56 ERA. One of those wins came out of the bullpen this year. And I think we all know he basically pulled himself out of Game Six of the 1986 World Series. I’m not saying anything there, but something to consider.
EDGE: WHITE SOX, in the end they have more depth and we saw what they can do in the ALDS, four straight complete games.

Bullpens:
You know, I don’t think they’ll factor in that much. Who ever has better starting pitching and doesn’t have to use their pen as much will be in better shape. Since I have to pick… geeze I don’t know. The Sox have more rest, the Astros pen has been good… the Sox have better lefties; I’ll give them the nod because of Cotts and Marte.
EDGE: WHITE SOX

Closers:
Bobby Jenks vs Brad Lidge
This is easy, Lidge. He’s been there, done that, maybe the best closer in the National League… but he also gave up a home run that my dad described as “Something form The Natural, if only there was a light tower…” in Game Five of the NLCS. If it wasn’t for Oswalt, the Cardinals would be playing tonight instead of the Astros. I have no clue where Lidge’s head is. But if anyone gets on when he’s pitching, you have to figure he’s a dead man out there on the mound. Therefore…
EDGE: WHITE SOX

Bench:
Ozzie didn’t even use anyone on his bench in the ALCS besides letting Ozuna pitch run in Game Two. Once again, don’t look for Ozzie to use his bench in games played at the Cell. The Astros feature names such as Eric Bruntlett, Raul Chavez, and Orlando Palmerio. But they’ll also have the guy who sits between Chris Burke, Mike Lamb, and Willy Taveras.
EDGE: ASTROS

Manager:
Ozzie Guillen vs Phil Garner
First things first, Garner is a prick, a jagoff, and that’s being kind. The Sox and teams he’s managed have had plenty of run in though the years… the Brewers and Sox hated each other in the mid 90s when he was the manager there, and who can forget the 2000 brawl where Garner kept fueling the fire. He’s also not that good of a manager; he’s got a career losing record and has never finished in first place. He makes more questionable moves than Jerry Manuel (including taking out Lance Berkman in a tie game in the 10th inning in Game Four of the NLDS, a game they should have lost). Meanwhile Ozzie hasn’t made one bad call in the last month or so. He’s pressed all the right buttons and with help from pitching coach Don Cooper, developed a new way to handle pitchers… don’t worry about ‘em till the hit 100 pitches, then figure out what to do. He’s not going to try and fix something that isn’t broke. Garner will.
EDGE: WHITE SOX

Stadiums:
The Cell vs the Juicebox
MLB should ban the park in Houston… a hill in centerfield and a left field porch that a five year old could hit home runs too. Meanwhile the Cell has under gone a renaissance in the last four years to become a very good and friendly place to see a game.
EDGE: WHITE SOX and who would have thunk it five years ago?

Cities:
Chicago vs Houston
We’re kidding right? What is Houston known for? Give me one thing? Enron? The Astrodome? Can you name a song that centers around or features Houston? A movie? A book? Anything? What kind of food are they known for? Why does anyone live in Houston? Can you name a famous building? Do they even have museums in Houston? Meanwhile anyone who’s ever been to Chicago always comes back saying “Wow… I had a great time.”
EDGE: WHITE SOX

Fans:
SouthSiders vs People from Texas? Houston?
Both fans have been tormented of sorts. Sox not being in the Series since 1959 and not winning one since 1917 and the Astros have never been to the Series, let alone won one. So I’ll just call this one a draw.

Random Thoughts and Facts:
The Astros are the whitest team in baseball. If Taveras doesn’t start they feature 9 white guys and a white starting pitcher. Their bullpen is white. They should be banned for not having any color, any flavor on their team. It’s like watching pre-1947 baseball. And that’s not right…. Everyone is picking the White Sox it seems, which is sort of scary. But the Sox are 9-1 in their last ten, all ten played against teams who had to win (Cleveland, Boston, and LAAofAinOC). Their starting pitching has been unbelievable. And I think they take advantage of that short porch in left to really hurt the Astros in one of the games in Houston… The SouthSide is going to be in full 1985 Bears mode, I’m not kidding. They are just waiting to go off… Speaking of the GREATEST TEAM OF ALL TIME, the Bears will honor them at half time tomorrow. I’m not making that up. So the 1985 Bears will be in town this weekend, add a little MJ at the game, and this down is going to be in full “Let’s Go, Go, Go, Go White Sox” mode south of Madison. And who would have thought that the 1985 Bears would ever be over shadowed? Anyone? Just think if the Sox win, all 25 guys will have some sort of job in the media or doing events if they win. The 2005 White Sox would take the torch from the ’85 Bears. Or at least I hope they will… I love the fact that Cub fans are bitter. It’s like crisis mode for all Cub fans. Just fantastic. They’ve always been able to take the High Road with us Sox fans when it comes to the Cubs/Sox thing because Sox fans are so insecure about it all. But now that we’re in the World Series and they’re still waiting (60 years since the Cubbies been playing in the World Series), I think it’s hit them. They’re saying things like “Holy Christ, they beat us to the Series? Where’s Bartman? How is this happening? We’re bigger losers officially now right?” If the White Sox win it, they might just be able to become the Team in Chicago. Especially with the Bears only being so so.

PREDICTION:
WHITE SOX in Six.

2 comments:

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Good breakdown, Jr.