Sox it to me

So my postseason predictions were dead on … until the end of each league’s championship series. So much for the Angels and Cardinals.

I had picked the Cards in six, but we’re now at seven straight World Series losses by the National League. (If you want to believe the All-Star Game counts for something, that’s nine straight AL victories that don’t count in the standings.) The last time an NL team won a game against the AL with postseason implications was the Marlins’ Game 6 victory in 2003.

I choose to look at it as the last AL team to lose to the National League in a game of postseason importance was the Yankees. And now, four starting pitchers who have worn pinstripes within the last three seasons are playing for either Houston or Chicago in this year’s World Series.

Brilliant.

Anyway, I’d meant to write up a new World Series preview (since my teams weren’t in it and therefore my previous “prediction” was obsolete), but after thinking about it a little last Thursday, the next time it occurred to me was Saturday night as I watched Jermaine Dye take Clemens deep and I didn’t have a good feeling about it.

I suppose I was pulling a little more for the Astros, for the National League allegiance and the Roger Clemens factor too. I go back and forth on liking Clemens. He’s been nice enough to me in the couple of brief encounters we’ve had. We’ve never talked or anything, but I’ve gotten a nod and a kind look.

[A brief sidebar, as Phil Garner just left Mike Lamb in to face Neil Cotts — again. What is it with managers who get their team to the World Series, then, inexplicably, go against what got them there? I mean, it’s not like they throw everything out the window, but why would you leave Lamb in to face a left-hander? At least he got a walk tonight. I remember the same thing happening in 2000 when Bobby Valentine said Al Leiter would be starting Game 1 of the Series against the Yankees, even though Mike Hampton had a full four days rest after the complete-game clincher in the NLCS because the Mets won in five. Valentine’s reasoning was that Leiter had followed Hampton all year and he wasn’t going to change that now. Well, start Hampton in Game 1 and Leiter in Game 2. My argument for Hampton in Game 1 was that he would come back to pitch Game 5 at Shea Stadium, where he’d hit and give the Mets an advantage over the Yankees.]

So no Series preview, but I don’t know if I would’ve foreseen the White Sox’ momentum continuing to this extent. Last year, you just had a feeling that the Red Sox would win those last four games after they’d finally slain the Yankees. This year, I know at least I wondered if there could be two such Cinderella stories in consecutive years. Two teams named for their hosiery doing away with their curses of 80-plus years in successive autumns.

Maybe it can all be attributed to Chicago’s recent addition to the overhead compartment. The White Sox have taken to bringing a “Play Like A Champion Today” sign with them on the road. No wonder they’re winning. The signs aren’t hard to find: They sell posters at the bookstore on campus and the J.C. Penney at the mall. Still, the Sox got theirs from the home office.

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