To mark the momentous occasion that is the 2008 Playoffs we asked a couple of esteemed guest writers to talk about their favorite team's chances this postseason. One of the biggest White Sox fans we know lives in England. Old England, not that fancy, imitation 'New' England. Here's Michael S. with his take on the Pale Hose's chances.
Brian Anderson's great catch in Centre Field signified the end of a long struggle but started something far more important. Coming into the season no one expected the Sox (or the Twinkies) to be in Central contention but they overcame some difficulties throughout. Whether it be Bullpen blowups, Ozzie going mental at the offense in Tampa, Canadian "Dolls" or The MVP of the team (and perhaps the American League) breaking a tooth while biting a bat/smashing his wrist up a little bit which thankfully Paulie covered by getting hot at the right time and Alexei going Tetra-tot-tastic.
The starting pitching, apart from an unreliable Javy Vazquez, has held up well throughout the season and John Danks would certainly had more wins had anyone else had the Sox been able to hit the ball early in the season. Gavin Floyd has shown why he was picked fourth overall by Phillies in 2001 and Mark Buehrle got his act together after getting lit up early in the season once again going over 218 innings. Going into the postseason things don't change much with the pitching as it has been a four man rotation for the best part of the month. Javy will be the key though. He must be one of the most irritating pitchers ever, he can hold someone hitless through 5 with a bunch of strikeouts and then give up about 5 runs. He must get the Sox off to a good start in St Pete and at least get through some innings with only 3 reliable arms in the bullpen. They've got Big Bad Bobby Jenks, Joe Thornton and Scott Linebrink who each looked good against the Tigers although they seemed to be a bit half-arsed about it.
As has been constantly well publicised by Harold Reynolds, the Sox rely on the Home Run to get some offense. This is never a given in the postseason against the games best pitchers but the Sox have shown signs of getting hot at the right time similar to 2005 when they stumbled down the stretch before going 11-1 to win it all. To do it again this year it's going to be much tougher but if the middle of the order can all get going (and not hit into many Double Plays, honestly sometimes I'd prefer if they just struck out instead) then they have a chance. However, they'll have get it done again on the road (as they did in 2005), with their backs against the wall as they have done in the past 3 games against 3 different opponents. If they can get hot and get some momentum it'll have Chicagoans from Addison to 35th and Shields dreaming of a Crosstown Classic in The Series for the first time in 102 years.