October 23, 2005

WS1: White Sox 5, Astros 3

The White Sox took Game 1 easily, touching Roger Clemens for three early runs and relying on the strong pitching of Jose Contreras, Neil Cotts and fireballing Bobby Jenks. The Chicago offense was balanced, with eight of the nine batters hitting safely, and five different Sox driving in runs.

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.
Brad Ausmus: called, groundout to shortstop.
Adam Everett: called, swing/miss, 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.

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.


Anonymous said...

See, that's funny, because mlb.tv only has Sutcliffe for last year's ALCS, and I think he's excellent. He's critical when he needed to be, but fair to both sides. In game 5 he was rightly ragging on Pedro sucking right before Captain Intangible's stupid triple, but also provided reasoning for his complaints. He also correctly praised other people when they performed well, so it's unfortunate he's turned into a shill. I heard from a friend that he had become way too cheery, and that's a real shame since it was a massive improvement over McCarver, who I just think is an idiot.

Still, no one's going to be as entertaining as Remy / D.O., so I'll takes what I can gets.

Anonymous said...

It's clear from your article that you know the Astros scored 3 runs, so you might want to change the title to: "White Sox 5, Astros 3" Sorry to nitpick. Otherwise, great stuff here, as always. And I'm not trying to sound like Sutcliffe when I say that.

Iain said...

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.

I'm in France and getting the FOX feed. Last year, I got the MLB feed (with O'Brien and Sutcliffe) for the ALCS, then FOX for the WS - this year, for some reason I've yet to fathom, it's been FOX all the way.

Anonymous said...

My God. Someone actually thinks Sutcliffe's moronic, cliched, mystical observations are "excellent." Now we know why he's still tormenting us.
As for McCarver: last night he became the first commentator I have ever heard point out that a runner on second was taking a lead too far back in the basepath...a detail that I have been unaware of for a lifetime of game watching. That is good color. Blathering on about "how much Jason Veritek means to this team" a la Sutcliffe isn't.

Sure, I'd dump Wells if I could get something for him. But when he was healthy, he was still a hell of a pitcher. He did well by the Sox...and deserved a better fate in the play-off.

Anonymous said...

Did you see Megliola's piece for the herald on Clemens?
Everyone else is bickering about what happened to the "old red sox nation" of believers and dreams and, well, Megs isn't helping anyone's case by suggesting all is forgiven and we'd all welcome Roger home.
Go White Sox.

Anonymous said...

I don't want Roger "I want to finish my career here, but I also demand the top salary of all pitchers despite giving Boston a .500 record during the last four years or I'm going to move close to home...you know, like Toronto" Clemens back, and all is NOT forgiven. He's a great pitcher but a selfish jerk, and he dogged it in last years in the Hub until he decided to make a salary drive. He can take his victory lap (again) somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Jesus christ, do people even read whole posts before commenting anymore, or have we completely devolved into knee-jerk reactionism? I said that last year I thought he was fair and insightful, but "I heard from a friend that he had become way too cheery, and that's a real shame since it was a massive improvement over McCarver, who I just think is an idiot."

I haven't heard a single McCarver broadcast this year, but if there's anything he wasn't for the ALCS, it's universally positive. He really tore into Pedro, among others.

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, Sean, me boy, your exact quote was "I think [present tense] he's excellent," not "last year I thought [past tense] he was excellent." And I've listened to the fool for two years, and he's NEVER been excellent, or even vaguely bearable.
No knee jerk I.