Clemens was the second-oldest pitcher to start a World Series game, behind only 46-year-old Jack Quinn of the 1929 Philadelphia Athletics. Fat Billy was not sharp at all, touching only 92 with his fastball, throwing 25 and 29 pitches in his two innings of work. With the game tied 3-3, he did not come out for the third inning, citing hamstring problems.
Holding a 4-3 lead, Jose Contreras allowed a leadoff double to Willy Taveras to start the top of the eighth. Neil Cotts came on and allowed a single to Lance Berkman, moving Taveras to third with no outs. Cotts came back to strike out Morgan Ensberg and Mike Lamb. The TV gun showed Cotts at 88-90, but it seemed he was throwing harder than that.
With Jeff Bagwell up, Ozzie Guillen called Jenks in. Pinch-runner Chris Burke stole second, putting runners at second and third, but Bagwell struck out, unable to catch up to Jenks's 98 mph heat.
The White Sox added an insurance run in their eighth before Jenks finished off the Astros on eight pitches (all strikes) in the ninth:
Jason Lane: called, foul, swing/miss.It turns out that I'm not listening to Buck/McCarver. It appears that anyone outside the US gets to hear Dave O'Brien and Rick Sutcliffe. There is no Fox logo on-screen (only the MLB logo) and the lineups also featured the player's country's flag.
Brad Ausmus: called, groundout to shortstop.
Adam Everett: called, swing/miss, swing/miss.
Sadly, it didn't take long before I was wishing I could hear McCarver. Because even though he's drifting into senility before our ears, he will say some smart stuff every so often. Not so with Sutcliffe.
Sut's main problem is that he feels he must praise everyone, all the time. He gives the unmistakable impression that every baseball player is the greatest of all-time at something. And he has the insight to tell us exactly what that is. The gushing usually occurs when a player is hitting, but it can also be in the field. After Joe Crede's two run-saving plays at third base in the sixth and seventh innings -- admittedly, damn good stops -- I thought Sutcliffe might pass out from excitement.
But in his attempts to put every player in a good light, Sutcliffe ends up gushing over the silliest things. When Bagwell was hit by a pitch in the second inning, Sutcliffe told us to "look how fundamentally sound he turns away from that pitch." It doesn't take long before his praise becomes meaningless fluff -- because if everyone is great, then no one is great.
Rooting Interest: I will always root for the Clemens-less team, so go White Sox! Make your longtime fans as happy as we were last October.
And speaking of happy Red Sox fans: We have a new third base coach! Woo-hoo! DeMarlo Hale takes over for Dale Sveum, who will be responsible for a lot of outs at home plate for the Brewers.
David Wells wants a trade back to the west coast. I was surprised Wells's ERA+ this season was only 99, just a hair below league average. Next year, he'll be fat, 43, and recovering from knee surgery, so I don't think he'll be missed.