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WSI News - Totally Biased Game Recaps

ALCS Bound!

ALDS Game 3; October 7, at Boston


Sox Magic Number:
8
"One series down."

Short Take: Two-run homer by Paul Konerko and AMAZING relief pitching by Orlando Hernandez gives Sox 3-0 sweep of defending champs, a ticket to the ALCS, and a hangover tomorrow morning.

The last time the Chicago White Sox had a team on the brink of elimination in a play-off series, the Sox held a 3-2 series lead over the New York Giants on October 15, 1917. Hall of Famer, Urban "Red" Faber pitched a 2-run complete game as the White Sox defeated New York, 4-2, both in game and series to be crowned the 1917 World Champions. Flash forward, oh, 87 years and 51 weeks, and the Sox would get their next chance to send an opponent home losers. Road warrior Freddy Garcia battled Tim Wakefield for an ALCS dream and the first post-season series win since that October afternoon in New York.

Wakefield's famed knuckler looked a little shaky early on. He hit Scott Podsednik to lead off the game. After a faulty pick-off attempt, Podsednik cruised into second, but was called back because moments before Wakefield's throw, Tadahito Iguchi had called time at the plate. Podsednik was caught stealing moments later and the Sox harmlessly went down in the first. In the second, Wakefield hit his 2nd batter of the game, Carl Everett, who was barely grazed by a knuckler up and in. Again, though, nothing was to come of it, as Aaron Rowand, Mr. Hitting .714 off Tim Wakefield, grounded into a double play to end the frame.

The baseball gods were smiling on the Sox, though, as the rain and the cold that had stayed away from Fenway Park at gametime rolled into Boston, of course, affecting Wakefield's knuckler and opening the door for the American League's best team. After two quick outs, Juan Uribe started the rally with a double off the Green Monster. Podsednik then deposited a double down the left field line to score Uribe and put the Sox up 1-0. Iguchi then singled to center, scoring Podsednik and giving the Sox a 2-run cushion.

Garcia, meanwhile, wasn't cruising, but he wasn't struggling either. Through the first three innings, he had issued three walks, though all were erased on double plays. In the fourth, though, the vaunted Red Sox bats came to life. David Ortiz hit a towering fly ball that carried in those windy and rainy conditions just enough to get out over the center field wall. On pretty much every other day, that's an FO 8. Moments later, Manny Ramirez lofted a fly ball, that in any other ballpark is a long run for the right fielder, but a playable ball for Jermaine Dye. Instead, thanks to Fenway's famous 300-foot corner, the ball landed about 6 rows deep and the Sawx had knotted the score at 2-2.

Paul Konkero wouldn't let the Sox lose today. As he had done all year, he put the line-up on his back and carried the load. In the 6th ining, Jermaine Dye drew a lead-off walk. Konerko delivered a 2-run homer over the Green Monster and put the Sox back up 2. The Red Sox, however, struck right back, as Manny Ramirez clubbed their 3rd solo homer of the day. The Sox's lead was cut back to 1 and Ozzie Guillen pulled his starter and went to his 'pen. Damaso Marte got the first call and nearly blew it. Trot Nixon singled, Bill Mueller walked, and John Olerud walked. That's right, three batters, three baserunners, no outs. The Sox were starring down the 8-9-1 hitters in the Red Sox line-up, a very big inning, and a possible Game 4. Enter Orlando Hernandez. El Duque was the 25th and possibly most controversial addition to the Sox's ALDS roster, getting the nod over hot handed rookie Brandon McCarthy. The cool, savvy veteran, however, entered an arena of 33,000+ raucus fans and simply shut the door. Jason Varitek, pinch hitting, popped out to Konerko. Tony Graffanino popped out to Uribe in shallow left field, before Johnny Damon worked the count to 3-2, before being retired on a check swing strike out, as El Duque snapped a breaking ball that fell off the table. The air was sucked out of Red Sox nation, and Hernandez worked pretty easy 7th and 8th innings.

In the 9th, A.J. Pierzynski ripped a double to lead off the inning and moved into third on a sac bunt by Joe Crede. Juan Uribe laid down an excellent suicide squeeze bunt, as Pierzynski slid home ahead of Mike Timlin's underhand toss to Varitek to give the Sox a very important insurance run. Not that Bobby Jenks would need it. The rookie seemed unfazed by the dying devotion of the crowd in attendance, and calming got Tony Graffanino to ground to Crede at third. He then struck out Johnny Damon swining, and lastly, got Edgar Renteria (the same man who grounded out to Keith Foulke to end the 2005 World Series), ended any hopes of a title defense, as it deflected off Jenks straight to Tadahito Iguchi, for the 27th out of the game and the final nail in Boston's 2005 season, and drew the entire roster and coaching staff out to the middle of the infield, as the Sox celebrated a well-earned series victory.

The White Sox now get a few days of rest and await the winner of the Yankees-Angels series. Game 1 of the American League Championship Series is Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field. Enjoy it, Sox fans. You've just witnessed a first for this fan base in 88 years.

WSI's
Ozzieball Update:
Three 2-out hits in the 3rd and a suicide squeeze in the 9th account for 3 runs while Konerko's jack makes up the other 2. Can't say enough for Hernandez. The stress was killing me, if anyone questions why you take the vet over the rookie now, reference them to the 6th inning of the 2005 ALDS.


submitted by doublem23.

Sox Clubhouse "Pick to Click" Winner

Orlando Hernandez

Retired Jason Varitek, Tony Graffanino, and Johnny Damon in order, with the bases loaded to preserve a 1-run lead.

Play WSI's Pick to Click Contest!

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