To be perfectly honest, I really hated the match-ups the White Sox were dealt this series. I thought there was a good chance that they might get swept. Thankfully, the Tigers made just enough mistakes to keep the Sox in the first two games long enough to put some runs on the board against their bullpen.
This might have been the sloppiest series the Sox have played all season long. That it came against the team with the best record in baseball, and they were still able to take two out of three is a minor miracle. The '06 White Sox are nowhere near as fundamentally sound of a baseball team as the World Series title team from the year before. There's really no comparison.
As for the game itself, Jon Garland didn't pitch nearly as bad as his line would indicate. He was really locating his 2-seamer well. Of course the problem -- aside from Ozzie's decision to play a career utility infielder in CF -- was getting beat with the long ball on his secondary pitches.
Garland has allowed a major league high 19 homers this season, and I'd be willing to bet that at least 2/3rds of them have come on change-up, 4-seamers, and off-speed stuff. He's most successful, not when he's really mixing his pitches, but when he stubbornly throws about 75% 2-seam fastballs.
He's giving up homeruns at an alarming rate, but it's not terribly out of line with the major league average of 11% of flyballs allowed. His problem is allowing the flyball. More flyballs = More HRs. It's really that simple.
The highlight of the night came with the first successful debut of a White Sox prospect since probably around '99-'00. Sean Tracey, called up to take Cliff Politte's place as the garbage man in the pen, pitched the final two innings of the contest, looking impressive in the process. He threw first pitch strike to 5 of the 7 batters he faced, and just kept 'em coming after that. He even pitched over an error on a should-a-been double play where no outs were recorded.
There was a reason that I wanted Tracey called up when there first was an opening in the bullpen. He has the potential to be a good major league reliever, and -- without putting down our minor league coaches -- I felt the only way for him to reach that potential was under the tutelage of Don Cooper. Cooper's had a run of success turning harnessing some wild arms with Neal Cotts, Jose Contreras, Bobby Jenks, and maybe Matt Thornton all on his resume. I'm hoping that Tracey can be another name for his 'second best pitching coach in baseball' plaque.