White Sox Win the Pennant! White Sox Win the Pennant!
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Oct 17, 2005 11:00PM
In convincing fashion, the 2005 Sox demonstrated that they are clearly the best team in the American League, defeating the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 5 games. After dropping Game 1 to the Angels and squeaking by in the controversial Game 2, the Sox headed out to Anaheim and dominated the Angels, winning all three games to clinch the AL Pennant.
Friday night, the Sox jumped on the board in the 1st inning with three runs, including two on a Paul Konerko home run. That was all the scoring they needed -- although they did add two more runs -- as Jon Garland pitched a complete game, letting up only 2 runs on 4 hits. Final score 5-2 and a 2-1 lead in the series.
Saturday night's game started almost the same as Game 3 did, with a Paul Konerko home run helping the Sox put a 3-spot on the board in the 1st innings. Again, that was all run support the pitcher would need but again the Sox put more runs on the board. Behind yet another brilliant pitching performance, the Sox won 8-2 and went up 3-1 in the series.
The Sox mixed things up a bit Sunday night by not scoring in the 1st inning. They took the lead 1-0 in the 2nd inning before the Angels tied it in the 3rd. The Sox took a 2-1 lead before the Angels jumped ahead 3-2 in the 5th. The Sox tied it in the 7th, took the lead in the 8th and then added two insurance runs in the 9th. Final Score 6-3, Sox win the series 4-1 and the Sox win the Pennant!
While the ALCS had a number of big story lines, the biggest was the phenomenal pitching by the starting pitchers. In five games, the starters pitched all but 2/3 of an inning of the entire series. After Jose Contreras went 8 1/3 innings in Game 1, Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland, Freddy Garcia and Contreras all went the distance in the four Sox winners. The last time a team had three complete games in the playoffs was 1973. Has a team ever done in it 4 straight? Not since the 1956 Yankees (even in the regular season, it hadn't been done since '83)! Not only were the Sox pitchers durable, they were dominant. The 11 runs allowed in the series were the fewest ever in an ALCS of 5 of more games or more.
While the pitching came up huge in this series, the hitters brought it, too. Paul Konerko was named series MVP after hitting .286 with 2 home runs and 7 RBI's. Chicagoist wants to know how they could have passed up on giving it to Joe Crede, who also hit two homer and drove in 7 runs while hitting .368, and it seemed all his big hits took place immediately after a controversial play gave the Sox new life in the particular inning.
The World Series begins on Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field. By virtue of the AL's All Star game victory, the White Sox have the home field advantage, so games 1 and 2 will be here next weekend and games 6 and 7 the following weekend (if necessary). Their NL opponent will host games 3, 4 and 5 next Tuesday-Thursday. Their opponent has yet to be determined, but with Houston taking a 3-1 lead on St. Louis earlier on Sunday, it's looking like a Chicago-Houston World Series.
Photos via Yahoo!News