Sunday, August 13, 2006

Showdown Series Part Deux, Episode Three

White Sox 7, Tigers 3. Sweep, baby, sweep.

SOX STANDINGS: 70-46, 5.5 Back. Magic # for the Playoffs: 45

For starters, let me say that much like Bruce Banner, you wouldn't like Pudge Rodriguez when he's angry.

The Sox were back with the tried-and-true 2005 formula - they got two good scoring chances in the first two innings and capitalized on both (bases-clearing double by Alex Cintron capping the early production). The day's starter stepped up when needed (Freddy Garcia was touched for 3 runs in the first four innings, then buckled down to retire the last 12 he faced.) The bullpen continued to bring it as Matt Thornton killed Detroit's last chance to get back in the game, inducing a first-pitch ground ball double play from Carlos Guillen in the 8th. Bobby Jenks sealed the sweep with a nasty curve on Curtis Granderson with two runners on in the 9th...and the crowd went wild.

As well they should. Sweeping any team in baseball is huge, particularly the team you're trying to catch. But for the Sox to dominate this series the way they did on the second weekend of August speaks a lot about their character - and surely is planting seeds of doubt in the Tigers' head. Are they cracking under the pressures of a long season and the knowledge that the defending champs are now charging fast? Hard to say. Surely, however, the Sox have a chance to kick Detroit while they're down - a four-game set against Kansas City is on the docket for the Sox, while the Tigers head for Boston and three games against Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, and David Wells. First place could very well be on the line when the teams hook up for four more next week at Comerica.



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