MEMO TO OZZIE GUILLEN
Don't change a thing -- not even your socks, whatever color they are. Or the tires on your little sports car, even if they go flat. As the song goes, "Don't go changin' ... I love you just the way you are."
Your club is on one of the most oppressive and impressive streaks in postseason history, with 13 wins in its last 14 games. You've lost once
, by the blowout score of 3-2 to the Angels in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, in nearly a month. You have a chance to match the 1999 Yankees' 11-1 run as the best in postseason history.
Your No. 8 hitter, Joe Crede, wins games with home runs. You've got your No. 5 hitter, Carl Everett, laying down sacrifice bunts.
You keep your relievers caged up so when they finally get to a mound, they blow 100 mph smoke and Jenks looks like Lucifer to the Astros.
Keep the whole show going, Act I going on IV.
REASONS TO HOPE
U.S. Cellular Field may have chased Andy Pettitte out of the American League. Unlikely, of course, but he suffered more losses here (six, in nine decisions) than in any other park as a Yankee visitor. Furthermore, two of the White Sox lighter bats grow heavy against lefties -- Scott Podsednik and Aaron Rowand both hit 50 points higher against them.
If the Astros are anxious about not going home in an 0-2 hole, Mark Buehrle is just the guy to exploit that by making them lunge for his change of speeds.
REASONS TO WORRY
Can this keep up? Reverting to the regular season, White Sox pitchers have allowed three runs or less in 14 of 15 games, and 17 of 19. This may be an unprecedented stretch of staff-wide frugality.
Don Cooper, the pitching coach, keeps saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
If it cracks, will it completely break down? There is too much quality in that rotation and bullpen for a collapse but, in a short series, even a lull can be terminal.
Can Buehrle maintain the spell? It's a question we'll keep asking as it continues.
Will the Sox have to change their slogan Sunday night from "Win or Die Trying" to "Win or Thaw Out"?
The anticipated cold won't turn the Pale Hose even paler. This should've been an even bigger issue in Game 1 for Jose Contreras, from the Caribbean paradise of Cuba. Buehrle is from Missouri, where they don't have palm trees.
The caliber of play was shockingly crisp Saturday night. Neither Buehrle nor Pettitte throw heaters that psych out chilled fingers, so the 2005 brand of Go-Go Sox will keep going.