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Recalling Game Three of the 2005 ALCS between the White Sox and Angels
In eliminating the Boston Red Sox in the Division Series via a three game sweep, Jon Garland, the scheduled Game Four starter, found himself superfluous. It was an odd position for an 18-game winner, but a nice luxury for the White Sox, that Garland would not be needed until Game Three of the American League Championship Series.
Garland's 2005 season started off as a charmed one: he was 8-0 on May 17 after having won all eight of his starts. While he would cool down over the rest of the season, he remained a quality starter and on most playoff teams would have been no worse than a #3 starter.
Prior to Game Three against the Los Angeles Angels, there was speculation regarding how the right-hander would respond to not having pitched since October 1. As a sinkerballer, there is a school of thought that having a (somewhat) tired arm is beneficial (though sinkerballer extraordinaire Derek Lowe disputes that) and that having a rested arm can result in the sinker having less optimal movement.
Garland put any concerns to rest and took back home-field advantage for the White Sox with a complete game win. He gave up just four hits and didn't give up any runs until the sixth inning, by which point the White Sox had already built a 5-0 lead. And that 2-run home run by Orlando Cabrera would be all the Angels would get.
Angels starter John Lackey made sure that his club had too big of a hill to climb by surrendering 3 runs in the first inning. Scott Podsednik led off the game with a single. In his required showing of assclownery, Ozzie Guillen elected to have Tadahito Iguchi bunt Podsednik to second base. Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko, however, ensured that decision to give up an out with the second batter of the game didn't prevent a big inning. Dye doubled home Podsednik and Konerko backed him up with a two-run shot over the left-centerfield fence.
In the top of the third, the White Sox added another run. Iguchi led off the inning with a single. Guillen determined that having Dye bunt Iguchi to second was sub-optimal and let him hit away. Dye walked and, after Konerko struck out, Carl Everett singled Iguchi home.
Iguchi continued his hot hitting in the fifth, leading off the inning again with a hit, this time a double. Lackey retired Dye but Konerko singled him home.
As the win probability chart for the game shows, the outcome was never in serious doubt. Garland's complete game performance followed Mark Buehrle's complete game in Game Two. Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras would follow Garland with complete games of their own to capture the White Sox' first pennant since 1959 and become the first team since the 1956 New York Yankees to throw four complete games in a playoff series.