By Benjy Lipsman in News on Oct 3, 2005 7:27PM
The 2005 regular season ended yesterday, so there's a lot of baseball to discuss. As expected by many, one of our two teams heads into the post-season. Of course, the specific team many thought would be playing in October will be starting their off-season today. The other team is the one who's still gunning for the first Chicago World Series title in more than 85 years.
How Sweep It Is
For a series that, as recently as last Wedneday, promised to be so important for the White Sox and the Indians it sure fizzled into a non-event. By the time their bus pulled into Cleveland the final series was meaningless for the Sox, but would determine whether the Indians made the playoffs as the Wild Card or not. The Sox swept the series, making sure that the Indians' season ended on Sunday. And they did so while mostly relying on their reserves as the starters rested.
The White Sox finished the season at 99-63. Not bad for a team that was associated with "choke" only a week ago. That just goes to show that it was a lot more Cleveland playing amazingly well for a stretch rather than the Sox playing all that poorly. Coming up just one win shy of the century mark means playing some damn fine ball for a season. Especially for a team without a superstar. No Sox pitcher won 20 games or had an ERA under 3.00. There were no .300 hitters in the lineup. Paul Konerko topped out at 40 home runs and 100 RBIs. Nice numbers, but nothing like the numbers put up by the likes of Andruw Jones, Albert Pujols or David Ortiz. The Sox won as a team.
Next up for the White Sox are the Boston Red Sox. The two Sox face off beginning Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox will start Jose Contreras -- named AL Pitcher of the Month for September -- against former Cub Matt Clement.
Cubs Finish 4 Games Under .500
While the White Sox exceeded all expectations on the Southside, the Northsiders fell on their face after being picked by many to compete for the World Series title this year. A rash of injuries (Prior, Wood, Garciaparra, Ramirez, etc.) slowed them down but the team just failed to click consistently down the stretch. And Sosa wasn't even around to blame this time. While that suggests to Chicagoist that maybe Dusty Baker is at least partly responsible for their underachieving, there's talk of him getting a contract extension. We thought only Bush Administration cronies get that kind of job security. Greg Maddux will also return, in spite of his bid to extend his record for 15-win season coming up short as his loss on Sunday dropped him to 13-15 on the season.
There are still many questions to answer, hwoever, regarding the Cubs roster for next season. Will Corey Patterson be back? What about Nomar? And where does Kerry Wood fit into the team? Should be another interesting off season for the Cubs.