Heading into Friday's game, the one question on everyone's mind that didn't involve Doug Eddings was "how would Jon Garland react to an almost 2-week layoff between starts?" -- Garland made sure the answer was clear.
Garland backed up Mark Buehrle's complete game 5-hitter with a complete game 4-hitter of his own. The last time teammates threw back-to-back complete games in the playoff was in the 1997 NLCS when Livan Hernandez and Kevin Brown were leading the Marlins charge to their first World Series title. Even before Fox flashed that "fact bar" I was thinking to myself that Garland's 7 strikeout performance reminded me a lot of vintage Brown.
When he was coming up through the minors, and even when he was struggling to assert himself as a big league pitcher, you often heard Garland's stuff compared to that of Brown. -- I emphasize stuff because, well, I never thought it was a good comparison. Garland's fastball has never been as dominant as Brown, and he has never produced the number of groundballs that Brown does.
Friday night was different. Garland took the extra rest, changed his approach a little bit, and looked very comfortable in the role of Brown. Garland's fastball, which usually sits in the low 90's was touching 95 in the middle of the game, making his changeup even more effective. The 7 strikeouts tied a season high for him.
In the post game interview Garland said that he knew his sinker wouldn't be working as well with the extra rest, so he stayed away from it. -- That is one reason why Guillen sending him back out there for the bottom of the ninth was a good idea. Garland will either have a tired arm, and thus a good sinker working should he be needed to start game 7, or not be used again until the World Series, which doesn't start until next weekend, thus allowing a rested Garland another Kevin Brown-like start.
Paul Konerko was the offensive star of the game. I have mixed feelings about Pauly putting together a solid post season. Every HR and RBI he has raises the bounty he will receive in the form of a new contract this season. Therefore, every HR and RBI he has increases the chance that he'll be out the door.