Jermaine Dye won the World Series MVP thanks to four great games in the Fall Classic.
But his hot streak had been going for a while.
Dye started his first season on the South Side slowly, but he found his footing and ended up having a very nice regular season, at times showing the kind of dominance at the plate that he’d turn into a season-long destruction of American League pitching a year later.
With the White Sox stumbling in the month of August, they recovered just in time to straighten out in September and hold off a late-season charge from the white-hot Indians. A division lead of 15 games on Aug. 1 shrunk all the way down to just seven games by month’s end. It got as tiny as a game and a half with a week left in the season.
As mentioned the other day during #SoxRewind, the White Sox starting rotation had plenty to do with stopping the bleeding and preventing the Indians from getting within even better striking distance heading into September. But don’t discount Dye catching fire when it mattered most.
Over his final 34 games, beginning Aug. 25 against the Twins, Dye slashed .325/.390/.635 with nine home runs and 23 RBIs. His 1.025 OPS during that stretch was a nice preview of the north-of-1.000 number he’d post over the entirety of the 2006 season.
There was perhaps no bigger single performance during this breakout than what happened in the second game of the White Sox doubleheader Aug. 30 in Texas. Dye picked up three hits, hit two home runs and matched a season high with six RBIs.
A hot final month and a half of the regular season set Dye up nicely for the postseason, where he hit .311 and reached base at a .415 clip. He got 14 hits in 12 games, including four extra-base knocks. He drove in six runs and walked six times, compared to seven strikeouts. Seven of those hits came in the World Series, and the 1.214 OPS he had during the Fall Classic earned him MVP honors.
When the White Sox needed him most, fending off the Indians’ charge and then playing do-or-die baseball in October, Dye delivered.
He seems to still agree that when he did things like he did Aug. 30 in Texas, he was truly at his best.
I was at my best when I drove the ball out to right field. 💪🏾 https://t.co/n0hOBGXbjq— Jermaine Dye (@JermaineDye) May 7, 2020
— Brandon McCarthy was excellent in this one, throwing 7.2 shutout innings and allowing just two hits against a Rangers lineup that scored eight runs in the first game of the doubleheader. He followed it up with arguably an even better performance against the Red Sox in his next spin through the rotation, throwing seven shutouts innings and striking out seven at Fenway Park. He made an eight-inning start, allowing just one run against the Twins, later in September.
— Bobby Jenks didn’t earn a save in this one with the White Sox up eight runs when he entered in the eighth inning. But he continued on an excellent stretch of scoreless outings. He made 11 straight appearances in August and September without allowing an earned run. It was right around this time he took over as Ozzie Guillen’s closer. He picked up his first career save five days prior in Minnesota and threw 1.1 innings in this game in Texas.
Since you been gone
Aug. 25, 2005: Jon Garland was sensational, but Dustin Hermanson blew the save with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. A Timo Perez single in the 10th set Jenks up for his first career save. White Sox win, 2-1, improve to 77-47.
Aug. 26, 2005: After the Mariners tied things up in the eighth, the game spun all the way to the 12th, where a two-run homer off the bat of Tadahito Iguchi sent the White Sox to a second-straight extra-inning win. White Sox win, 5-3, improve to 78-47.
Aug. 27, 2005: Jose Contreras pitched into the eighth inning but almost coughed up a four-run lead built on homers from Dye and Carl Everett. The bullpen navigated, however dangerously, through the final outs. White Sox win, 4-3, improve to 79-47.
Aug. 28, 2005: Freddy Garcia was shelled by his former team, giving up eight runs in 4.1 innings in Seattle. White Sox lose, 9-2, fall to 79-48.
Aug. 29, 2005: The White Sox committed four errors behind Mark Buehrle, meaning even a three-run ninth wasn’t enough to catch the Rangers. White Sox lose, 7-5, fall to 79-49.
Aug. 30, 2005, Game 1: Before Dye hit two balls out of the park and drove in six runs in the second game of the doubleheader, Mark Teixeira had his own two-homer, six-RBI performance in the first game. White Sox lose, 8-6, fall to 79-50.
#SoxRewind rolls on Friday, when you can catch the Sept. 1, 2005, game against the Tigers, starting at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago. It’s a big day for A.J. Pierzynski, who drives in a trio of runs, including one as part of back-to-back jacks with the swell-swinging Dye.