Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chisox Win AL Central

The Chicago White Sox have won the AL Central Division with a 1-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins in front of the hometown fans.

Jon Danks and Bobby Jenks combined on a two-hit shutout. The closest the Twins came to scoring was in the top of the 5th when Ken Griffey, Jr threw out the slow footed Michael Cuddyer at home plate.

Both Cal Ripken, Jr and my Dad predicted Jim Thome would hit a homerun independently of one another. They were both right. Thome's dinger was the only run Twins starter Nick Blackburn surrendered. Blackburn pitched just as brilliantly as Danks but made one more mistake than Danks and it made all the difference.

The Chisox are only three years removed from winning the World Series. But they struggled in 2007 with a 72-90 record. So this was a turnaround season for them.

The Twins have nothing to be ashamed of. They lost three of their starting pitchers and their top centerfielder but yet came within a heartbeat of the postseason.

So now there's the tantalizing possibility of an all Chicago World Series. It would be the first since 1906 when the "hitless wonders" White Sox upset the Cubs that won a major league record 116 games in the regular season (the 2001 Seattle Mariners tied that mark). Unlike the 1906 Sox, the 2008 edition led the AL in homeruns. Interestingly, the Chisox carried on without Carlos Quentin who was leading the AL in homeruns when he broke his wrist earlier this month. But the Chisox have plenty of sluggers in Thome, Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko, Nick Swisher as well as rookie Alexei Ramirez.

Then there's also Ken Griffey, Jr. I didn't think much of the trade to bring him over from the Reds at the trade deadline. He's well past his prime and I thought General Manager Kenny Williams was doing it for sentimental reasons. On the other hand, he still has flashes of his former glory as he did tonight. He is also a positive presence in the clubhouse. It's also hard to begrudge someone who was contributed as much to baseball as Griffey, Jr a chance to play in his first World Series. At the very minimum this is the first time The Kid will play October baseball since 1997.

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