CHICAGO -- And that, White Sox fans, was a loss. That is what happens when the other team gets more runs. You haven't seen one in a while -- to be exact, 14 calendar days and eight game days -- so you might not remember what it looks like. But that is all it was. A loss -- 3-2 to the Angels in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series -- not the opening line of an epilogue. The White Sox were reminded that winning the AL pennant will not be easy and it certainly won't be a sweeping success -- both of which the AL Division Series that got them here were.
But the Angels are everything the Red Sox are not. It takes more to beat them than keeping the bases clear in front of two big sluggers. "It was no surprise that they came out the way they did," said third baseman Joe Crede. "They are a great team. There was no question whether they would be up for this game." The Angels were supposed to be beat, playing their third game in three different time zones in 48 hours. Instead, the White Sox got beat. Well, they got defeated. This certainly wasn't a beating, but the first notes of a fetching October melody. Load up the refrigerator. Check the batteries in the remote. Fluff the sofa pillows. It is going to be six more nights of this, pure baseball played tight and tense. When the inches bunts roll are more important than the feet big knocks fly. "Both teams have shown this is the type of game they've played all year," said Paul Konerko, the Chicago first baseman. "It wasn't surprising. "They won the game, but I didn't think ... look at the hit columns, it was pretty close [seven each]. They didn't blow us out. Didn't totally overwhelm us. It wasn't a case of us playing flat and them playing great. I thought we were pretty evenly matched." When you play your reflection, you have to watch your back. The slightest slip can make the difference. You need to minimize physical errors and brain cramps because, although both of these teams can hit loud, neither wants to depend on it. So White Sox fans find encouragement in the fact their boys made mistakes as if they hadn't played a game in three days -- oh, right; they haven't -- and still lost a close decision, the 27th out coming with the tying run on base. "We needed a couple days off," said manager Ozzie Guillen, not regretting the time off since the clincher over Boston on Friday. "I cannot make an excuse that the days off killed us. Hopefully, we execute well and get better, but no, I think we needed the days off."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.