Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Angels and White Sox
2005-10-11 13:09
by Mark T.R. Donohue

I'm not going to write a breakdown for this one because I already discussed both these teams' strengths and weaknesses in my Division Series previews, and besides, what do I know? Three of my four picks were wrong. (Nailed the Cardinals in 3, but that was as sure a thing as you'll see in the MLB postseason.)

Instead, let's pull back a bit. What would a world championship mean to each of these teams? Chicago, as most people know, hasn't appeared in a World Series since 1959 and hasn't won one since 1917. More recently they've made playoff appearances in 1983, 1993, and 2000, winning a total of three games and never advancing to the second round. It would be a huge deal for the White Sox to even get into the World Series. Their national bandwagon kind of collapsed with the dramatic surge the Indians had, but it's building back up with the three-game sweep of Boston. For me a White Sox championship would be worth it just to see what Ozzie Guillen would do and say afterwards.

The Angels won a championship in 2002, their first. They were all the rage at the time but their quiet '03 (missed playoffs) and '04 (swept by Boston in the first round) has somewhat added weight to the contention that the 2002 Angels got a little lucky. Certainly the three home runs in Game 5 of the ALCS against Minnesota from Adam Kennedy, who had hit seven all year, was a little fluky. Their pitching staff lacked a true #1 guy. Their bullpen was very good but no one besides Troy Percival was a "name" and he's now gone. Francisco Rodriguez, probably their playoff MVP in 2002, hasn't completely proven himself to be as dependable a reliever during the regular season. Likewise John Lackey and Jarrod Washburn haven't elevated their play to the level expected after a World Series win. Another championship for the Angels would be a huge legitimizing factor. Unlike the 2002 team, this group was expected to contend from the beginning. They've done so rather quietly, but here they are in the Championship Series.

Who do I like? Wow, I have no idea. After the Red Sox series is tempting to start saying "this is the year for the White Sox," but all series start 0-0. The Angels are tired but confident. Chicago has Jose Contreras. What a story this guy is! Discarded by the Yankees, resuscitated by Ozzie and El Duque, ace of the postseason rotation. I'll tell you, I saw him pitch in person against the Rockies earlier this season and he was lights out. Paul Konerko had a fine division series. Vladimir Guerrero didn't; you have to figure he'll be due. I'm really looking forward to this series no matter how it turns out. It's great to see new blood (well, the Angels don't really count, but they're better than the Red Sox or Yankees again) on the big stage and both these managers like to run, pitch out, bunt, change pitchers like crazy, and generally make nuisances of themselves. Lots of things can happen in a series like this.

OK, fine, you got it out of me: White Sox in seven. No particular rationale, it just seems about that time.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.