White Sox

White Sox 2005 Rewind: Winning ugly

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AP

White Sox 2005 Rewind: Winning ugly

Good teams make up for their own mistakes.

Bad day for a pitcher? The offense picks him up. Slumping superstar? The role players get the job done.

That sort of thing happens over the entirety of a season, but if you’re looking for a microcosm from the White Sox championship campaign in 2005, look no further than May 8.

The White Sox completed a sweep of the Blue Jays on Mother’s Day in a game that featured a disastrous fourth inning that saw two uncustomary errors by Juan Uribe and an uncustomary rough go for Mark Buehrle.

Early on, Uribe looked like he was going to lead a beatdown of the Blue Jays. Batting high up in Ozzie Guillen’s order with Tadahito Iguchi getting a day off, Uribe made his skipper look smart by smashing a solo home run in the first inning.


In each of the first three innings, he made stellar defensive plays, almost turning a triple play in the first and turning a second double play in the third.

By the time Buehrle went out for the bottom of the fourth, he had a 5-0 lead to work with. But after a quick first out, he gave up back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases with one out. That’s when Uribe’s misfortune started. He dropped a ground ball, allowing a run to come home. And two batters later, after another run had scored, he airmailed a throw to first base in an attempt to complete an inning-ending double play. Two runs scored on that play, including one on his second error of the frame.

Buehrle did his job a couple times with the bases loaded, generating the kind of ground balls he used to get outs throughout his career. Without the help from his defense, though, the three hits and one walk he did give up in the inning ballooned into four runs, obviously helped by Uribe’s errors.

But despite that bout of ugliness in the fourth inning, the White Sox kept it together — and got contributions from the rest of the roster to make up for it.

Jermaine Dye hit a two-run homer. Joe Crede drove in a run, as did Pedro Lopez, who played in just two games for the 2005 White Sox. Buehrle navigated around some more trouble, retiring eight of the last 12 batters he faced — including getting a huge double play to get out a jam with the tying run 90 feet away in the fifth and another double play in the sixth. Dustin Hermanson sat down the only three hitters he faced, and despite a shaky ninth inning from Damaso Marte, Aaron Rowand made a game-saving catch on a line drive with the winning run at second base for the final out.

Borrow a term from an even older White Sox team: winning ugly.

Victories don’t have to be pretty, as long as they’re victories. And whether that’s staging a comeback win without the benefit of a hit or holding off a self-inflicted charge, the 2005 White Sox did it.

What else?

— Frank Menechino batted second for the Blue Jays in this one. He’s currently the White Sox hitting coach, and Toronto was one of two stops during his major league career. After spending five and a half big league seasons with the A’s, he was dealt in the middle of the 2004 season and spent his final major league campaign with the Jays in 2005. He had only a .216 batting average in his 70 games that year but reached base at a strong .352 clip. He had a hit and a walk in this one against Buehrle.

— Pedro Lopez again! This guy played in a grand total of two games for the 2005 White Sox. And he got an RBI hit in both of them. He had an RBI single as part of an 8-0 win over the Tigers on May 1. A week later, he got the start at second base, spelling Iguchi, and delivered an RBI hit that drove in the White Sox fifth run, eventually the difference-maker when the Blue Jays scored four off Buehrle in the bottom of the fourth. “Team of destiny,” anyone?

— This was Buehrle’s first win against the Blue Jays in his career, the only American League he hadn’t beaten coming into this start.

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?

May 6, 2005: Down 3-2 heading into the seventh, Dye tied the game with a solo homer to leadoff that inning. The White Sox grabbed the lead in the eighth on a two-out, two-run single by A.J. Pierzynski. White Sox win, 5-3, improve to 22-7.

May 7, 2005: The White Sox hit five homers, including two by Paul Konerko, scoring 10 runs in the first four innings to make up plenty for Jon Garland surrendering six runs to Blue Jays bats. White Sox win, 10-7, improve to 23-7.

Next up

#SoxRewind rolls on Sunday, when you can catch the May 11, 2005, game against the Devil Rays, starting at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago. Konerko drove in a pair with a double in a four-run fourth, and Orlando Hernandez allowed just three hits in a solid outing.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

White Sox 2005 Rewind: Small ball, Paul ball, over-the-wall ball

White Sox 2005 Rewind: Small ball, Paul ball, over-the-wall ball

If you were paying really close attention during Game 2 of the ALCS, you saw it.

One fan in the stands at U.S. Cellular Field was hoisting a sign that perfectly summed up how the White Sox scored their runs during a 99-win regular season and during a march to the World Series.

“Small ball, Paul ball, over-the-wall ball.”

Small ball was rebranded “Ozzie ball” by these White Sox, who reaped the rewards of Kenny Williams’ bold offseason trade. The general manager shipped away a productive slugger, Carlos Lee, for a speed demon on the base paths, Scott Podsednik. Lee was pretty darn good at swinging the stick. But the White Sox craved balance in their lineup, and with Podsednik’s base-stealing ability causing chaos at the top of the order, they got it and scored more runs in the first inning than any other during the 2005 season.

Paul ball, well that’s obvious. Paul Konerko was the team’s MVP in 2005. He smashed 40 homers for the second straight season and hit triple digits in RBIs for the third time in his career. He was particularly potent during the second half, helping to prevent a complete free fall out of first place with the Cleveland Indians charging in September.

And over-the-wall ball? Well, as balanced as the White Sox lineup was thanks to Podsednik’s arrival, the South Siders still hit a lot of home runs. Seven different hitters launched at least 15 dingers. Even Podsednik, who had zero of them during the regular season, got in on the power display in the playoffs, hitting one in the ALDS and a walk-off homer in the World Series.

Fast forward two nights from when that sign was lifted up on the South Side, and you saw the White Sox follow that script to a “T” in Southern California.

In the first 17.2 innings of the ALCS, the White Sox scored three measly runs. A tip of the cap to the Angels’ pitching staff, but this was not the same production from a lineup that mauled the Red Sox during the first round of the playoffs. Then A.J. Pierzynski swung, missed and ran to first base and the White Sox offense woke up. Over the course of the next five White Sox hitters to step to the plate — Joe Crede’s walk-off double to finish Game 2 and the first four batters of Game 3 — the White Sox scored four runs.

How’d they do it against John Lackey in Game 3? How do you think?

Podsednik did his thing at the top of the lineup and got on base with a leadoff hit. Then Tadahito Iguchi bunted him into scoring position ahead of Jermaine Dye’s RBI double. Paul Konerko followed with a solo homer slammed into the left-field seats — the beginning of a three-hit, three-RBI night for him — and the White Sox had a crooked number on the board. Just like that.

Small ball, Paul ball, over-the-wall ball.


Of course, this all leaves out the most important ingredient in the White Sox success that season and in this series, in particular: starting pitching. While the offense took a while to wake up in the ALCS, the pitching was on point from “go.” Jose Contreras threw 8.1 innings in Game 1. Mark Buehrle allowed just one run in nine innings in Game 2. And Jon Garland followed with the second of what would be four straight complete-game efforts by White Sox starters in this series.


Though there was more to come, with Freddy Garcia and Contreras going the distance in Games 4 and 5, through three games, White Sox starters had already turned in an impressive string of games, allowing just six runs in 26.1 innings for a 2.05 ERA.

But as good as the pitching was — and it was out-of-this-world good — the White Sox needed to get back to their run-scoring ways following the quiet offensive performances in Games 1 and 2. They did just that, and not until Game 4 of the World Series did they score fewer than five runs.

When it came to how they scored those runs moving forward, the sign didn’t lie.

Small ball? Podsednik wrecked havoc the very next night in Game 4 of the ALCS, reaching base four times (thrice via the walk), stole a pair of bases and scored two runs.

Paul ball? Konerko had more damage to do, with at least one hit in each of the next five playoff games, including an unforgettable grand slam in Game 2 of the World Series.

Over-the-wall ball? The White Sox hit three homers in the final two games of the ALCS, then six more in the World Series, including iconic shots from Konerko, Podsednik and Geoff Blum.

So there are a few hundred words on the subject. But did I really do any better with all those words than that fan did with eight?

“Small ball, Paul ball, over-the-wall ball.”

Keep reliving the White Sox march to the 2005 World Series with #SoxRewind, which features Game 4 of the ALCS, airing at 7 p.m. Friday on NBC Sports Chicago.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

MLB, players deeply divided with clock ticking: 'It's ugly right now'

MLB, players deeply divided with clock ticking: 'It's ugly right now'

Where do things stand right now between Major League Baseball and the players union?

Let’s just say the owners are in New York and the players are in Los Angeles. Hopefully, they can meet somewhere in the middle — like Chicago — and we can have baseball in 2020.

But it's going to take a lot of work.

MLB's much-anticipated, first economic proposal presented to the players on Tuesday features a sliding scale of pay cuts where the players making the most money lose a greater percentage of their salaries, while those making less will have smaller cuts.  

The players' didn't like it one bit.

"The owners have a long way to go," one player said.

Fortunately, this isn’t the ninth inning of negotiations. There’s still time to make a deal.  

But with the clock ticking, there’s a big divide and harsh feelings that need to be addressed.

According to one agent, “I like to think I’m an optimist, but it’s ugly right now. While it’s a complicated situation, it comes down to money. The little hope I have is cooler and sensible heads [will] prevail.”

Will the two sides come to an agreement? If so, how and when?

That’s what I discussed with my NBC Sports Chicago colleagues Adam Hoge and Vinnie Duber on this Give Me Baseball edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.