Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Too Long Of A Memory

I was basically on the edge of my seat for the entire 14-2 White Sox victory yesterday. Far more so than any 12-run victory should warrant. It was a blowout and over by the bottom of the 4th when the White Sox responded with Uribe's home run to re-establish a 6 run lead. But that doesn't mean I wasn't imagining nightmare scenarios in which Contreras and the bullpen collapsed and the Red Sox pulled the game out with their spectacular offense. I wasn't really happy until the glove was closed on the last out.

And I'm still not happy. I simply have too long of a memory as a Sox fan (of course, it's not long enough to remember the last Sox home playoff victory, Game 1 of the 1959 World Series) to get too excited at this point. In 1983, the Sox rode a hot pitcher named Lamarr Hoyt to a game 1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles (albeit a razon-thin 2-1 victory), and then dropped three straight, including two at home. Even though we all knew they would win a game 5 with Hoyt on the mound, they never got that far. While we a great deal of faith in Contreras in this point - he's had a run as good as Garland's earlier in the season - Having gone through the 2000 sweep made having at least one victory feel good, but the White Sox are far, far from doing anything that is worth celebrating.

Even if the White Sox beat the Red Sox tonight to go up 2-0 in the ALDS, it still will not mean that much. Not only did this same Red Sox team pull of a 3-0 comeback against the New York Yankees last year, Chicagoans cannot forget the 1984 NLCS where the Padres beat the Cubs 3-straight to win the pennant. And the A's managed to drop two ALDS's in a four year span by dropping the 2001 ALDS to the Yankees and the 2003 ALDS to the Red Sox after 2-0 series leads. A 2-0 lead means nothing.

There is plenty to be scared about the next few games. Buehrle has been lit up by Manny, Ortiz, Renteria and Varitek in his career. Manny has 3 home runs and a .444 average in 18 at-bats against him, and Ortiz is hitting .351 in 37 at-bats against Buehrle. Those are extremely scary numbers. On the other side, no active White Sox hits David Wells particularly well. 3-4-5 hitters Dye, Konerko and Everett have hit .214, .214 and .217 against Wells, with only 1 home run in 65 at-bats. Indeed, Dye is the only White Sox on the current roster to go yard on Wells. Crede and Rowand are best with a .444 and .333 average against Wells, respectively, in a grand total of 15 at-bats - fewer than Manny has against Buehrle.

Those facts, in addition to the oft-repeated ESPN stat that the Red Sox have won the next game after each playoff defeat of 9 runs or more, make me more nervous about this game than game 1. If the Sox lose tonight's game, they go to Boston with no assurances they'll ever make it back to the Cell. If you ask me, this is the biggest game in the ALDS for the White Sox.

Until the next game.

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