Saturday, October 22, 2005
Anticipation Is High - Game 1
White Sox fans are not used to getting ready for World Series games. I find it so odd that the national media is talking about my team and my players. For so long, the White Sox have been just another team out there on the back burner; they get some attention when they are doing well (how many times in your life have you seen the headline "White Hot White Sox" when they go on a streak. It's like the Sox good streaks are so few and far between that they forget that they used that headline the last time), but it's just an interlude from coverage of the Yankees, Mets, and Red Sox.
But here we are, approaching Game 1. All eyes are focused on U.S. Cellular and the White Sox and Astros. By God, Roger Clemens is pitching tonight. Legend of Legends, the best post-dead-ball-era right hander. It's the Big Time.
I feel like there are so many unknowns. Sure, Konerko is 8-18 off Clemens in his career, and Joe Crede strangely has 2 home runs in 5 career at-bats off of Clemens. But the World Series is unchartered territory. How will Jose Contreras attack the Houston hitters? Will he be rattled by pitching in a World Series? Will Houston be ready for his stuff. And this Lance Berkman character scares the bejeezus out of me.
Once again, I think it will be important for the White Sox to score early and score first in this game. They do seem to play better when they have broken the ice and gotten on the board first. Getting Podsednik on to lead off the game - especially with Roger Clemens' high leg kick and slow delivery to the plate - would be a huge positive. A first inning run would lift everyone's spirits, mine especially. By the same token, keeping Houston off the board early will be equally important.
I've posted about the umpires in this series. I hope that Contreras's days of walking 3-4 hitters per game are over. He needs to get ahead, throw first pitch strikes, and get the Astros chasing his forkball. We need the Jose Contreras of August and September and October out there tonight. He is the horse the Sox need to ride the most.
I wish I had some great analyses today. I don't. I don't know how to analyze a World Series game - it seems so different than the others. Tonight, the Sox are -132 favorites, which strikes me as way too high with Roger Clemens on the mound. I do believe that the Sox should be underdogs in this particular game with Clemens on the hill. But they have a fighting chance.