First of all, I want to make a quick note that I'm probably going to start putting the results of the CC.com MLB Awards up sometime this weekend, probably tomorrow. So if you still want to vote, fill out the ballot and email it to me. Your voice can change the world!
But, on to the World Series. It's always such a glorious thing. The only thing I like about summer changing to fall is the baseball playoffs, really, and no matter who's in the Series, I'm going to watch it. You could say, "What if it was the Royals and Expos?" And you'd have a point, the Royals and Expos are some boring teams. However if they were in the World Series, they probably would have real players for once, so your point would actually be really bad.
And anyway, this is the White Sox and the Astros. Yeah, no foolin', that is the REAL World Series. I'll again own up - I thought Chicago would suck this year. Instead they went wire-to-wire, embarrassed the Red Sox in the ALDS, and then trounced the Angels in the ALCS.
As for Houston, they are a blast to watch. It's not that they're such a good team, because outside of Biggio, Berkman, Ensberg and Lane, there is no one on that team that can hit, but their fans are, in my opinion, the best in baseball.
Hopefully the White Sox fans will behave themselves in this time of great joy for the South Side of the Windy City and won't jump Jose Cruz or anything.
It doesn't take much of a brain to figure out why these two teams are here: Pitching, and lots of it. The White Sox have four fine starters in Contreras, Buehrle, Garland and Garcia, but not a single one of them is as good as any of Clemens, Pettitte or Oswalt. Contreras is pitching very well, but the Astros have three of the best pitchers in the game. They are all much better than Brandon Backe, however. The Astros had a 3.51 ERA this season, the White Sox were at 3.61.
So if pitching is where it's won or lost, the Astros have the edge, I'd say. But there are hitters, and top-to-bottom, the White Sox lineup smokes Houston's. The Astros have their four hitters that can do anything, but everyone in the White Sox lineup besides Podsednik has the ability to go deep, and Paul Konerko has been on fire in the postseason. The White Sox have the edge in R/G in the regular season, 4.57 to 4.25.
Both teams are managed by down and dirty ex-players, Ozzie Guillen and Phil Garner. Considering their pitching staffs, I'm not sure I think either of these guys had a whole lot to do with the success of their clubs other than instilling some spirit in them maybe, so I'll call this matchup a draw.
I can't even really pick a bullpen, the Astros have Lidge, but Bobby Jenks has done a great job for Chicago, and the White Sox also have Neal Cotts and Dustin Hermanson, along with Cliff Politte, Damaso Marte and El Duque. Dan Wheeler, Chad Qualls and Mike Gallo had nice seasons for Houston.
These are two very evenly matched clubs. They're both flawed, but they have workhorse pitchers. I think we're going to see good baseball and tight games in this series, whether it goes seven games, one of them sweeps, or anything in between. If either team truly dominates, wins games 8-2 or something, I'll be surprised.
And seriously - either the White Sox or Astros have to win baseball's world championship. One of them is going to do it, so history will be made either way. The Sox either end Chicago's long title famine or the Astros do it for Texas.
I'm really having a hard time making a pick, so I don't think I'll even bother. I think both teams will find it hard to win on the road. Houston is a tough place for any team to play in the postseason, and trust you me because I'm relatively close to Chicago, it's going to be COLD at the Cell. It's Bears weather in Chicago right now, but you'll have to forgive the city as they certainly aren't used to playing baseball this late into the year. Oh, I kid.