Chisox look to put a stop to their pain

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:41 AM ET

The city of Boston celebrated its first World Series in 86 years on Oct. 27.

Thus endeth the futility and frustration for the Boston Red Sox.

But 86 years is no big deal, not when you look to the city of broad shoulders, Chicago, slumped over with head down each and every October.

The Chicago White Sox have not won a World Series since 1917 -- that's 88 years. Meanwhile, the Cubs have been winless as well, which using our Kingston math, that means 176 combined seasons for the two Chicago teams without a World Series.

Oh-for-176 is a lot worse than oh-for-86.

As the first week of baseball's best month ends, dance partners for the eight-team October pairings are changing nightly. But we have seen the future and the streak is about to end.

And we don't mean the Cubs, who have not won since 1908.

This is the year of the different-coloured Sox and we'll give you some reasons:

For one, the Sox will open up the American League division series against the wild-card winner, whether it be the New York Yankees, Oakland A's or Cleveland Indians. The wild card may be clinched days before.

The Sox pitching staff is healthy, unlike 2000 when the Sox, winners of 95 games, were ousted by the Seattle Mariners in the first round.

Rather than starting Jim Parque, Mike Sirotka and James Baldwin as they did five years ago in the post-season the Sox rotation is six deep. Sirotka was injured, although no one knew how badly until he joined the Blue Jays.

The starting rotation goes six deep right now. They can choose amongst Mark Buehrle (who is 15-7 with a 3.00 earned-run average) Jon Garland (17-8, 3.28), Freddy Garcia (12-7, 3.75), Jose Contreras (10-7, 4.06), Orlando Hernandez (8-7, 4.92) and Brandon McCarthy (2-1, 5.08). They are the fourth best in the AL, going into last night's play.

They can go with either three starters or four in post-season play while bulking up the bullpen.

Contreras has been solid for six starts -- 5-1, 2.56 -- and McCarthy won twice in six days,

The bullpen has two dependable lefties -- Damaso Marte and Neal Cotts -- and three righties -- Cliff Politte, Luis Vizcaino and closer Dustin Hermanson, who had 32 saves.

The lineup is strong at the top -- Scott Podsednik and Tadahito Iguchi -- and bottom -- A.J. Pierzynski, Aaron Rowland, Joe Crede, Juan Uribe -- and a tad weak in the middle -- Carl Everett, Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye. Konerko and Dye do have home run power: Konerko had 34 entering last night and Dye 27.

The Sox are used to playing close games -- and winning -- going 28-15 in one-run games and 21-12 in two-run games. That's a 49-27 record in games decided by two runs or fewer and indicates that these Sox can execute.

More so than anything their manager the excitable Ozzie Guillen, who stayed in the majors by hustling, making fine fielding plays, stealing bases and bunting, has seen his Sox take on his personality.

The Sox are tied for third in team fielding percentage; Podsednik leads the AL with 55 steals, which helps the Sox rank second; and they lead in sacrifice bunts.

You can book it now:

The White Sox will win the World Series next month -- their first since manager Clarence (Pants) Rowland guided the Sox to 100 wins.

Rowland managed Shoeless Joe Jackson, Eddie Cicotte, Chick Gandil and Lefty Williams, two years before they became known as the Black Sox, for throwing the 1919 World Series.


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