The White Sox knew the first month of their 2005 schedule would be crucial because 22 of their first 28 games were against American League Central opponents.
But no one could have predicted that they’d obliterate their division en route to an unlikely 21-7 start.
After a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals in early May, the White Sox improved to 18-4 against their own division, an incredible pace that put them 4.5 games up on the Minnesota Twins, who weren’t exactly playing poorly.
But after a heavy divisional start, the schedule was about to flip wildly. Now the White Sox had to prove they could beat the rest of the American League. The next 25 games on the schedule were against non-A.L. Central opponents. In fact, other than a three-game series against the Indians in early June, 37 of their next 40 games were against non-divisional opponents.
Starting off in Toronto from May 6-8, the White Sox kept rolling. With Jose Contreras and Orlando Hernandez starting to pitch deeper into the games, manager Ozzie Guillen was able to keep red-hot Jon Garland in his comfortable spot deeper in the rotation. The White Sox won the first two games in Toronto, and while they may have had a reputation for winning one-run ballgames, the ’05 team was also capable of beating you by lighting up the scoreboard.
That’s what happened on Saturday, May 7, as Garland failed to get out of the sixth inning for the first time all season. It didn’t really matter because he had been spotted a 10-2 lead as the White Sox pounded Blue Jays starter Ted Lilly for six runs in just 1.2 innings. The home run list was long and included Tadahito Iguchi, Aaron Rowand, Juan Uribe and two from Paul Konerko, who hadn’t gone deep since Apr. 19.
But it was Scott Podsednik who stole the show, as he swiped four bases in the 10-7 win, tying a White Sox single-game record.
“He’s a true leadoff guy,” Paul Konerko told the Chicago Tribune. “There aren’t many guys in the game who get on base and can change the pace of what’s going on out there. Pitchers are throwing over to first because he’s stealing bases. Pitchers are making bad pitches because they’re worried about him.”
Both of Konerko’s home runs that day came after Podsednik successfully stole both second and third base.
This was just the latest fun way in which the White Sox beat a team that season -- and they were already 23-7 on the year.
The next day on the calendar was Sunday, May 8 and Mark Buehrle was on the mound so you knew there was a good chance the White Sox could get to St. Petersburg, Fla. in time for a late dinner.
Buehrle entered that start with a 34-game streak of pitching at least six innings and the White Sox were looking for their second eight-game winning streak of the season.
Again, it was May 8.
Here’s what Guillen’s lineup looked like:
LF Scott Podsednik
SS Juan Uribe
DH Carl Everett
1B Paul Konerko
CF Aaron Rowand
RF Jermaine Dye
C A.J. Pierzynski
3B Joe Crede
2B Pedro Lopez
Anyone remember Pedro Lopez?
The White Sox-Blue Jays game from May 8, 2005 will air Monday at 4 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago. For the full White Sox Rewind schedule from the 2005 season, click here.