White Sox defeat Angels
4 games to 1
|Game||Date||Winning Team||Losing Team|
|1||Oct. 11||LAA 3||CWS 2|
|2||Oct. 12||CWS 2||LAA 1|
|3||Oct. 14||CWS 5||LAA 2|
|4||Oct. 15||CWS 8||LAA 2|
|5||Oct. 16||CWS 6||LAA 3|
Managers: Guillen, Ozzie, CHA; Scioscia, Mike, ANA
MVP: Konerko, Paul
ALDS: Chicago over Boston (3 games to 0); Los Angeles over New York (3 games to 2)
After watching Boston end an 86-year World Series title drought the previous fall, the White Sox were ready for some of that. They had not won it all in 88 years. This could be the team.
The White Sox were instilled with the fiery spirit of their manager, Ozzie Guillen. They didn't hit or walk much in the regular season -- in the bottom half of the American League by batting average and OPS -- but they liked to run. They were caught stealing more times (67) than any MLB club, by a lot.
But led by Mark Buehrle and Jon Garland, their team ERA of 3.61 had matched Cleveland's atop the AL, and only San Francisco struck out more batters. That pitching was key in this ALCS, as the White Sox got complete games in each of their victories.
After the Angels' 3-2 victory in Game 1 at U.S. Cellular Field, the four consecutive complete games were an aberration in the era's specialized-bullpen world. They were provided, in order, by Buehrle, Garland, Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras. Neal Cotts' ninth-inning work in Game 1 was the only bullpen use.
The key play in the series happened with two out in the ninth inning of Game 2. The score was tied at 1 when A.J. Pierzynski swung on a low full-count pitch from Kelvim Escobar and missed, presumably strike three. Angels catcher Josh Paul rolled the ball to the mound and headed for the dugout. Pierzynski, a catcher and thinking like one, realized he had not been called out yet, and took off for first base. Home plate umpire Doug Eddings ruled that the ball had hit the ground and then gone into Paul's glove, so the pitch was "uncaught" and Pierzynski was safe at first.
Pablo Ozuna pinch-ran for Pierzynski and stole second base, and Joe Crede's walk-off double tied the series at a game apiece heading to Anaheim. Had Pierzynski been out and the Angels won Game 2, one can only wonder if it might have been a different story for the Halos at home.
Chicago had posted the AL's best record and then came into this series via a sweep of the defending World Series champion Red Sox. Now it would have home-field advantage against Houston in a World Series that would represent a major breakthrough for whichever club won.