Monday, October 17, 2005

All about the pitching ...

Just for a second, the baseball media isn't talking about "smart ball," small ball, or Moneyball. They're not talking about stats. They're talking about pitching, becuase the Chicago White Sox put on an unprecedented pitching display in the ALCS. And on this point, the media and I are in total agreement.
Okay, so I picked the Angels to win in 7. Didn't work out that way, I admit. Maybe I didn't make enough allowance for the absence of Bartolo Colon. But the truth is, I never dreamed that the White Sox rotation, good as it was during the regular season, would put on a display of pitching dominance that should rightfully go down as one of the best in postseason history.
Oh, the Angels didn't do too poorly. They held the Sox to 23 runs in 5 games, about 4.5 runs per game. This is a little better than the Sox did during the regular season, but not exactly unexpected. The Angel starters did a good job, and the relievers fared well, although they were overworked.
But the pitching line for the White Sox is absurd. They held the Angels to 11 runs in 5 games, or just barely more than 2 runs per game. The Angels could have had Bartolo Colon and Cy Young in their rotation, but they couldn't win the Series scoring 2 runs per game. The White Sox threw 45 innings, striking out 22 batters and allowing just 4 HR. They also allowed an ungodly low 4 walks. Four walks in five games. That's really amazing.
Of course, the prime movers and shakers behind this pitching mastery were the Sox' starting four: Contreras, Buehrle, Garland, and Garcia. The Sox threw4 complete games in a postseason series for the first time since the Yankees did it in the '56 World Series. The Sox bullpen pitched 0.2 innings in the entire series. That's phenomenal; it's nearly impossible in this day and age. If I could give out the MVP, it would be a 4-way tie between the Four Horsemen of the Sox pitching staff.
Game 1: Contreras (L), 8.1 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR
Game 2: Buehrle (W), CG, 5 H, 1 ER, o BB, 4 K, 1 HR
Game 3: Garland (W), CG, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, HR
Game 4: Garcia (W), CG, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR
Game 5: Contreras (W), CG, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0 HR
The Sox' style has been referred to as "smart ball." It would more accurately described in a much more complimentary (to my eyes) way: Pitching, Defense, and the 3-Run Homer.
This would be amazingly accurate if the Sox didn't spoilt it by wasting so many outs (Podsednik goes 4/7 in steals, etc.). The Sox got historically good pitching, good defense (3 E in 5 G), and big home runs (2 for Crede, 2 for Konerko). It should serve them well in the World Series (where they will have home field advantage). It will only be until the Astros seal the deal in the NLCS, then we will be planning the Series. And yes, I know I blew the Astros series, too. I ain't perfect.

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