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October 3, 2005
Waiting in the Wings
Roberto Petagine, who had left the team a few days ago to tend to a family matter in Venezuela, will report to the Red Sox' spring training complex in Ft. Myers to work out and be ready in case Boston moves on in the postseason and wants to make a roster change for the next round.
Shortstop Hanley Ramirez reported to Ft. Myers Monday, for the same reason.
Catcher Kelly Shoppach, meanwhile, is with the team to help catch in the bullpen. He is not on the playoff roster, but Boston manager Terry Francona was expecting Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen to okay Shoppach's use.
Posted by at 3:57 PM | Permalink
John Hirschbeck will serve as the crew chief in the Red Sox-White Sox American League Division Series.
The other umpires in the six-man crew will be Larry Vanover, Mark Wegner, Bill Miller, Mike Everitt and Dan Iassogna.
Posted by at 3:50 PM | Permalink
By the numbers
Some regular-season statistics:
Boston 199; Chicago 200
Home runs allowed
Boston 164; Chicago 167
Boston .281; Chicago .262
Boston 910, Chicago 741
Boston .357; Chicago .322
Boston .454; Chicago .425
Boston 14; Chicago 53
Boston 45; Chicago 137
Boston 109; Chicago 94
Posted by at 3:42 PM | Permalink
The White Sox' pitching staff knows its margin for error isn't great against the Red Sox.
``They're professional hitters,'' said relievger Cliff Politte. ``They've got a lot of guys mostly around .280 and .300. It's a lineup you have to make pitches against. One mistake will be the last mistake because you'll pay for it.''
Posted by at 3:37 PM | Permalink
The Red Sox and the White Sox played seven games against each other this year, with Boston going 4-3 in the season series.
Posted by at 3:34 PM | Permalink
Nice choice, Ozzie
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen announced his 25-man roster Monday morning, and the Red Sox privately had to be breathing sighs of relief at one of his selections.
Guillen opted for veteran right-hander Orlando ``El Duque'' Hernandez over rookie right-hander Brandon McCarthy. El Duque has had a lot of success in the postseason, but was only 9-9 with a 5.12 earned-run average in 24 games, including 22 starts, and he's not getting any younger.
McCarthy was 3-2 with a 4.03 E.R.A., but on Sept. 5 he was lights-out against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, limiting them to three hits and no runs in seven innings, racking up seven whiffs along the way in a 5-3 victory.
Posted by at 3:28 PM | Permalink
Picking his poison
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen didn't have to be reminded that the Red Sox boast a fearsome duo in the middle of their order.
David Ortiz (.300, 47 homers, league-leading 148 RBI) and Manny Ramirez (45 homers, 144 RBI) are hard to miss.
Often, the opposition has to choose which slugger to face in a key spot. Pitch around Ortiz to get to Manny, or pitch to Ortiz rather than face Manny.
Guillen said Monday morning that his battle plan at the outset of the first two games will depend on his starter. Tuesday it will be right-hander Jose Contreras and Wednesday it nwill be left-hander Mark Buehrle.
``With Jose pitching, I don't want Ortiz to beat him. I'll take the chance with Manny,'' said Guillen. ``If Buehrle's pitching, I don't want Manny to beat me.''
Overall this season, the White Sox had more success pitching to ramirez than they did pitching to Ortiz. Ramirez batted only .240 with two homers and five RBI in 25 at-bats. Ortiz batted .321 with three homers and eight RBI in 28 at-bats.
Of course, the White Sox were careful with each of them. Ramirez drew seven walks and Ortiz had five.
Posted by at 3:19 PM | Permalink
Bullpen duty no banishment
Bronson Arroyo, who made 32 starts this season, is the odd man out of the Red Sox' rotation for at least the first round of the playoffs.
Arroyo, though, has no complaints.
``During the regular season, you want to be a starter and it would bother you to be sent to the bullpen,'' said Arroyo. ``But in the playoffs, it's a totally different vibe. If it meant being the bat boy to be part of the playoffs I'd do it. This is fun.
``It's different physically and mentally pitching out of the 'pen, but it's not as if it's a new experience for me,'' said Arroyo, who pitched in relief in the postseason in 2003 and 2004.
Not that participating in the postseason is getting old for Arroyo, who has gone 3 for 3 with the Red Sox.
``When you're home watching it on TV it makes you sick to your stomach (not being part of it),'' said Arroyo.
Posted by at 3:11 PM | Permalink
Not much protection
Trot Nixon, who generally bats fifth against right-handers, ended the season in a deep slump.
Nixon went 1 for 24 with 2 RBI over the final seven games, all at Fenway Park. That skid dropped his average from .2.89 to .275.
``I've been swinging at good pitches, hitting some balls hard but I'm not getting anything to fall,'' said Nixon, who likely will hit fifth Tuesday with right-hander Jose Contreras on the mound for the White Sox in Game 1 of the Division Series.
Nixon can only hope he begins hitting where he left off in the postseason. He batted .357 (5 for 14) in the World Series last year. Overall, though, he's a .267 (31 for 116) hitter in the postseason.
Posted by at 3:05 PM | Permalink
A "Running" Headache
One key for the Red Sox in this series is to keep the White Sox' table-setters off the bases, notably Scott Podsednik.
The outfielder swiped 59 bases, second-best in the league to the 62 racked up by the Angels' Chone Figgins.
``When Podsednik gets on, it's like you want to take a pain pill,'' joked Boston manager Terry Francona Monday afternoon. ``He gives you a headache.''
Posted by at 2:57 PM | Permalink
Closer by Committee in Chicago?
The phrase was laughed at when Boston general manager Theo Epstein talked about featuring a ``bullpen by committee'' when he took over in 2003.
The concept didn't seem to work for the Red Sox that year, but that concept seems to have found a disciple in Chicago general manager Kenny Williams. The White Sox have used Neal Cotts, Damaso Marte, Cliff Politte, Luis Vizcaino, Dustin Hermanson and Bobby Jenks out of their bullpen in various roles.
``I've always believed in closer by situation. Some people might call it closer by committee,'' said Williams. ``What happens if David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez come up in the eighth inning in a tight situation. I don't think you save your guy (traditional closer) for a matchip in the ninth when that's the situation that comes up in the eighth.''
Posted by at 2:48 PM | Permalink
It's a Cubs Town
Try as they might, the White Sox have never captured the public's attention in Chicago the way the loveable Cubs have.
There is no cachet, no curse of the Billy Goat, just decades without a World Championshiop, dating back to 1917.
Red Sox second baseman Tony Graffanino is well aware of the situation. He played for the White Sox from 2000-2003, getting some action in Chicago's first-round playoff loss to Seattle in 2000.
But even then, the White Sox didn't take over the city from the Cubs.
``It's a Cubs town,'' said Graffanino. ``It's a shame, but that's the way it goes.''
Posted by at 2:36 PM | Permalink
The Cora Brothers
Red Sox infielder Alex Cora and White Sox third base coach Joey Cora, who used to play second base for Chicago, are brothers.
They went out to dinner Sunday night after Boston arrived in Chicago. But don't expect to see much fraternization on the field during the American League Division Series.
``He's my brother. It's a cliche, but we're enemies on the field,'' said Alex Monday afternoon prior to Boston's workout at U.S. Cellular Field. ``But it's different. I know my role, but at least I can control a little what happens on the field. All he can do is keep sending runners -- and I hope we throw all of them out at the plate.''
The fact the Coras will be in opposing dugouts for the series is more of a concern for one fan in particular. And she'll be rooting for the Red Sox, said Alex.
``There's more pressure on my Mom (Iris),'' said Alex with a smile. ``But she made it clear I'm the one playing. (Joey) had his chance as a player.''
Alex said Iris would be flying from Puerto Rico to Boston to see Game 3 Friday afternoon.
Posted by at 2:27 PM | Permalink