So I was going to title this post 'Lidge the goat'. But was he really? Probably not. Sure he and Ensberg, Bagwell, Clemens and others performed well below their abilities, but if your assigning blame for the Astros getting swept, look right at the top of the dugout stairs to Manager Phil Garner. You can't blame the Game 4 loss on Lidge when your offense manages just 5 hits and cant score a single run. But you have to question why Garner pulls Backe after 7 when he was still going strong throwing a shutout, only giving up 5 hits while striking out 7. But the White Sox played the NL version of small ball to manufacture a run off Lidge in the top of the 8th and you could just see it in the Astros' eyes that it was all over. They left runner after runner on base and in scoring position and nothing was going to change that now. Another questionable move by Garner was why he used Bagwell to pinch hit with no one on in the 7th instead of saving him for later when there could be a runner on, say like in the 9th? The Astros, including their manager, just seemed happy to be there.
The White Sox made all the big plays and had the big hits when they needed them. How about the defensive play of Juan Uribe? That guy has an absolute gun! The last out two outs in the 9th and the last out of the 8th were all spectacular plays. His catch of Burke’s foul ball going into the stands was, dare I say, Jeter-esk. And MVP Jermaine Dye hit a robust .440 for the series, including the game winning RBI in Game 4.
The games were close, but the series wasn’t. The Astros rarely looked to be in control, even when they had the lead. And the somewhat unentertaining series not surprisingly became the lowest rated ever series ever. So the ChiSox break their ‘curse’ of 88 years since last winning it all while the Astros hope it doesn’t take them 44 more years to get back to the Series. At least Biggio and Bagwell finally got to the series though they are long past their prime when their production could have helped make a difference.
Here’s one last rendition of World Series second-guessing.