White Sox

White Sox 2005 Rewind: Jon Garland, escape artist

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AP

White Sox 2005 Rewind: Jon Garland, escape artist

Jon Garland was terrific in 2005.

He made the American League All-Star team and finished sixth in the AL Cy Young vote thanks to a team-high 18 wins, a 3.50 ERA and 115 strikeouts in 221 innings of work.

He picked up the first of those 18 wins in his first start of the season April 9 against the Twins with a pretty good Harry Houdini impression.

Much like most of his rotation mates did in their first outings of the season, Garland held the opposition at bay. But this wasn’t the same kind of cruise control that Mark Buehrle was on in the season opener. Garland gave up 10 hits and had traffic on the bases in nearly every one of his six innings. But only one swing of the bat accounted for all three Twins runs against him in the White Sox 8-5 win.

Garland repeatedly danced out of trouble. He stranded Nick Punto, who led off the bottom of the third with a double, thanks to a line-drive double play to Juan Uribe. In the fourth, Matt LeCroy’s one-out double went for naught with Garland getting back-to-back groundouts to escape.

The Twins got to him in the fifth inning, three runs scoring on Shannon Stewart’s home run. That blast tied the game, but the Twins had a chance to pounce all over Garland, only for him to make the perfect escape at the perfect time.

Minnesota went single, double to start the bottom of the sixth, putting two runners in scoring position with nobody out. Then Paul Konerko made a big stab on a line drive for the inning’s first out. Lew Ford’s infield single kept the runners where they were but loaded the bases with just one out.

Garland needed a double-play ball. “Make a pitch, Jon,” Darrin Jackson said while calling the game. Garland made a pitch, getting Michael Cuddyer to swing at the first one in the at-bat and ground into an enormously clutch inning-ending double play.

Escaped.

The 2005 team got sensational starting pitching from April through the end of October. And while when we think of great starting pitching 15 years later, we think of guys who go out and dominate games and strike out a dozen guys, getting the job done in any fashion ends with the same result.

Buckle up, #SoxRewind fans. Great starting pitching will be a theme.

What else?

— The Metrodome lives again. (Shudder.) There are so few old-school domes left in the majors that it’s easy to forget how awful this looked on TV. Well, maybe not that easy. The fact that it housed consistently good Twins teams that bedeviled the White Sox made South Side fans hate it so much more. But it’s just so aesthetically displeasing. Today, only the home ballparks of the Rays and kind of the Blue Jays create such upsetting visuals while watching a baseball game on TV. But the nasty carpet-style turf and fan-less wall of baggies in right field made the Metrodome one of the worst. Yuck.

— And how about the open dugouts with no fencing in front? Jacque Jones let his bat fly on a swing against Garland in the second inning, and it flew into the White Sox dugout, almost hitting Don Cooper on the bench. Juan Uribe let his bat go right toward the Twins dugout in the seventh inning. Cover up those dugouts, guy.

— And speaking of Jones, what a throw he made from right field in the top of the third, almost nabbing Tadahito Iguchi at third base on the sacrifice fly that scored the White Sox third run. Michael Cuddyer couldn’t quite get the tag down in time on Iguchi, but Jones deserves some applause for a hell of a throw.

— Come on, Timo! Hawk Harrelson’s famous screaming call came a year earlier, but Timo Perez homered in this game against the Twins, the tie-breaking bomb in the top of the seventh. It was one of just two homers he hit all season, making Ozzie Guillen look like a genius for batting him fifth while giving Jermaine Dye a breather. After getting into 103 games the season prior, Perez saw action in only 76 contests during the championship season but still played his part, as evidenced by his absolutely crushed dinger in the Metrodome.


— Boy, Pods could pedal. Acquired to bring some more speed to this White Sox lineup, Scott Podsednik sure brought that. A year after stealing a jaw-dropping 70 bases with the Milwaukee Brewers, he swiped another 59 in his first season on the South Side. He didn’t steal any in this game but still put that speed to good use. In the seventh inning, the Twins tried to pick him off first base. It didn’t work, an errant throw allowed Podsednik to get all the way to third, and he motored the remaining 90 feet home on a passed ball a few pitches later. His RBI fielder’s choice that got him on base in the first base accounted for another one of the seventh inning’s four White Sox runs. Just more of that small ball.

Since you been gone

While #SoxRewind is extensive, it doesn’t include all 162 regular-season contests, meaning we’re going to be skipping over some games. So what’d we miss since last time?

April 6, 2005: The White Sox trailed 3-0 heading to the bottom of the ninth but scored four runs off Indians closer Bob Wickman. Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye hit back-to-back homers to tie the game, and Juan Uribe drove in the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly. Mercy! White Sox win, 4-3, improve to 2-0.

April 7, 2005: The South Siders raced out to a 5-0 lead, but the Indians chipped away and then scored three runs in the ninth inning on three solo homers off Shingo Takatsu to force extras. They pummeled Luis Vizcaino for six runs in the top of the 11th. White Sox lose, 11-5, fall to 2-1.

April 8, 2005: In the first game of the season against the rival Twins, Orlando Hernandez threw seven innings of one-run ball, and Dustin Hermanson tossed two scoreless frames in relief. Konerko homered in the sixth to break a 1-all tie, and Aaron Rowand hit his first homer of the season two batters later. White Sox win, 5-1, improve to 3-1.

Next up

#SoxRewind rolls on Saturday, when you can catch the April 11, 2005, game against the Indians, starting at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago. Another starting-pitching gem, this one from Freddy Garcia.

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White Sox 2005 Rewind: With a little help from old friend Tony Graffanino

White Sox 2005 Rewind: With a little help from old friend Tony Graffanino

In the eighth inning of Game 3 of the 2000 ALDS, the White Sox inserted Tony Graffanino into the game as a pinch-runner.

He was erased when Paul Konerko hit into an inning-ending double play. Graffanino stayed in the game at third base and was on the field when the Seattle Mariners walked off Keith Foulke and the White Sox.

The White Sox didn’t get back to the postseason for another five years.

But when they did, Graffanino was there again, this time playing for the opposing Boston Red Sox. He started at second base and had one of the best seats in the house to watch the South Siders beat the defending champs’ brains in for a 14-2 win in Game 1 of the 2005 ALDS. The next night, he factored into things a bit more prominently, though certainly not in the way he hoped.

Graffanino played for the White Sox from 2000 to 2003. He started the 2005 season as a division rival, suiting up for the Kansas City Royals before being dealt to the Red Sox in the middle of the campaign. He had himself an excellent season, and his good numbers with the Royals got even better when he went to Boston. He hit .319 and reached base at a .355 clip in his 51 regular-season games with the Red Sox.

But his defense, or lack thereof, would be his key contribution to the ALDS that season, unintentionally helping turn the tide in the middle of the series’ second game — for his old mates.

After torching Matt Clement for eight runs in Game 1, the White Sox offense wasn’t finding things quite as easy against another former South Sider, David Wells, who had the bats well silenced through four innings. Meanwhile, Mark Buehrle was atypically hittable in the early going of this one, giving up two first-inning runs — he only gave up six first-inning runs in his 33 regular-season starts — and two more runs in the third.

But the same White Sox lineup scored two touchdowns the day before and was obviously capable of banging around Boston’s lackluster pitching staff. The White Sox strung some hits together against Wells in the bottom of the fifth to cut the deficit in half, and Juan Uribe came up with a runner on first and one out. He tapped a grounder to second, hitting what appeared to be a pretty routine double-play ball.

Except Graffanino whiffed.

RELATED: White Sox 2005 Rewind: Underdogs? 14-run ALDS coming-out party said otherwise

Instead of an inning-ending double play, Graffanino’s error kept the inning alive. And after Scott Podsednik popped out to third base, the bill came due. Tadahito Iguchi hit a go-ahead, three-run homer that sent the South Side into pure chaos.


All three runs were unearned, but they still counted.

Buehrle settled down nicely, and after giving up his fourth run, he retired 13 of the final 15 hitters he faced, allowing just a couple singles. Bobby Jenks was stellar in his first career playoff game, called upon for a two-inning save in a one-run game. No matter. He retired six of the eight batters he faced, including Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon, the only hit he gave up a ninth-inning double to, who else, Graffanino. But with the tying run 180 feet away, Jenks got a pop out and a ground ball to put the White Sox a win away from an ALDS sweep.


Now, I’m not trying to revive the one-time trend of jumping all over a guy who lets a ball roll under his glove during a key playoff game on the right side of the Red Sox infield. That’s, as the kids say, tired and not at all wired.

And the White Sox deserve plenty if not most of the credit. They were no strangers to comebacks of all stripes during that 2005 season. It's one thing to be gifted an opportunity. It's another to be able to capitalize. Iguchi was clutch as could be, and his defensive plays at second base in this one were important, too, earning him an enthusiastic hug from Buehrle in the dugout after the seventh inning. Buehrle and Jenks’ efforts on the hill were just as important as a big inning at the right time.

But how funny does the world work — the baseball world, in particular — that with the White Sox attempting to erase an 88-year title drought, who should be there to turn the game around in their favor but a former teammate and a guy who was on the field the last time they were this close, half a decade earlier?

That’s team-of-destiny stuff right there.

Keep reliving the White Sox march to the 2005 World Series with #SoxRewind, which features Game 3 of the ALDS, airing at 7 p.m. Monday on NBC Sports Chicago.

 

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MLB The Show: White Sox complete sweep of Twins as power surge continues

MLB The Show: White Sox complete sweep of Twins as power surge continues

NBC Sports Chicago is simulating the 2020 White Sox season via MLB The Show during the postponement of play. The White Sox, stocked with young talent and veteran offseason acquisitions, were expected to take a big step forward in their rebuild this season. Follow along as we play out the first few months of the season.

Result: White Sox def. Twins 13-4
Record: 24-29, T-3rd in A.L. Central (5.5 GB of Twins)

W: Dylan Cease (3-3)
L: Rich Hill (3-4)

Game summary: Things couldn’t have gone any better for the White Sox in this weekend’s four-game series vs the Twins. The South Siders took the first three games by offensive force and the finale was no different.

Nick Madrigal’s unlikely tenure in the cleanup spot has mostly been underwhelming, until Sunday afternoon. The slight-in-stature second baseman ripped a three-run homer to left to give the White Sox the lead in the first.

Chicago doubled the advantage in the second, when Edwin Encarnacion slugged a two-run homer and Eloy Jimenez drilled a solo shot. Jimenez remains the gift that keeps on giving, as he now has 19 long balls on the season, second in the American League and already a career-high. The White Sox led 6-0 after two frames.

Meanwhile, Jose Abreu continued his torrid stretch. The first baseman extended his hitting streak to 17 games, going a perfect 4-for-4 on Sunday. He also went deep twice: a two-run homer in the fifth and a three-run blast in the eighth. His five-RBI night ensured this was yet another blowout vs. the division leaders.

The White Sox clobbered the Twins 13-4 for their sixth straight win and suddenly sit just 5.5 games back in the AL Central.

White Sox lineup:

Edwin Encarnacion: 2-5, HR (15), 2 RBI, 2 R (.312 BA)
Eloy Jimenez: 3-5, 2B, HR (19), RBI, 3 R (.270 BA)
Yoan Moncada: 1-4, R (.258 BA)
Nick Madrigal: 1-5, HR (6), 3 RBI, 3 R (.246 BA)
Jose Abreu:  4-4, 2 HR (17), 5 RBI, 3 R (.309 BA)
Tim Anderson: 1-5, RBI (.296 BA)
Luis Robert: 1-4 (.240 BA)
Yasmani Grandal: 1-5, R (.295 BA)
Nomar Mazara: 1-5, RBI (.244 BA)

Scoring Summary:

Top first

Nick Madrigal homered to left field, Edwin Encarnacion and Eloy Jimenez scored. 3-0 CHW.

Top second

Encarnacion homered to left field, Yasmani Grandal scored. 5-0 CHW.
Jimenez homered to center field. 6-0 CHW.

Bottom second

Mitch Garver homered to center field. 6-1 CHW.

Bottom fourth

Garver homered to left field, Josh Donaldson scored. 6-3 CHW.

Top fifth

Jose Abreu homered to center field, Madrigal scored. 8-3 CHW.

Top seventh

Tim Anderson singled to center field, Yoan Moncada scored. 9-3 CHW.
Nomar Mazara singled to second baseman, Abreu scored. 10-3 CHW.

Top eighth

Abreu homered to left field, Jimenez and Madrigal scored. 13-3 CHW.

Bottom ninth

Eddie Rosario doubled to center field, Donaldson scored. 13-4 CHW.

Notable performance: The home run played a vital role in this series sweep of the Twins. The White Sox hit 14 long balls as they completely eviscerated the division leaders in four games.

Next game: Monday, May 25 - Game 54: White Sox at Orioles (Reynaldo Lopez, 4-2, 4.36 ERA vs Asher Wojciechowski, 1-5, 4.89 ERA)

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