The White Sox bullpen hasn’t allowed a run in the ALCS. Or a walk. Or even a runner on base.
In fact, they haven’t even made an appearance in four games.
Four complete games have helped the Monochrome Footwear attain a 3-1 lead entering Sunday’s Game 5.
Jose Contreras, Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland and Freddy Garcia have a combined 2.00 ERA in the first four games. And one more win by Contreras tonight will send the Sox back home to await their opponent in the World Series.
In Game 3, the Angels were stifled by Garland in a 5-2 Chicago win. Paul Konerko was the offensive hero, going 3-for-4 with 3 RBI, including a 2-run homer. The offense on the Angel side was Orlando Cabrera’s 2-run shot in the sixth. But Garland only allowed 4 hits and struck out 7.
Game 4 was more of the same from the South Siders. Garcia — separated at birth from The Rock — allowed six hits and mowed down 5 batters at the plate. His counterpart, rookie Ervin Santana, was unable to match his ALDS Game 5 emergency heroics and was knocked around early and often. Konerko again drive in three runs, all in the form of a first-inning homer.
Tonight’s Game 5 (7:30 p.m EST., FOX) is a Game 1 rematch — Los Angeles’ Paul Byrd vs. Contreras. Playing for their first World Series appearence in 46 years, faithful Chicagoans will sure sacrifice The Simpsons for a chance to see their hapless Sox host the World Series for the first time since 1959.
If the Sox do wrap up the series tonight, picking an MVP would be difficult. While Konerko has supplied 6 RBI, he seems to be the favorite. But catcher A.J. Pierzynski, despite an average of only .200, was the catalyst for the heavily disputed Game 2 ninth inning strikeout.
But the last time a Chicago team was up 3-1 in the ALCS, it was the 2003 Cubs who had a commanding lead over the eventual World Series champs Florida Marlins. So if the Angels do escape with a win tonight, don’t sell a ticket for Game 6 to Steve Bartman.