War Inside My Head: 2008 White Sox/Rays ALDS Preview

[Highlights from an actual conversation overheard today in my brain.]

They can win this, you know.

You can’t be serious.

I am. Think about the circumstances.

The circumstances are a home run derby team going up against a team that doesn’t give up a lot of home runs.

It’s not just about styles of play.

But it can’t work in their favor, either. The Rays’ home losses are even rarer than the Sox’.

True, but look at what’s coming up. If they can split in St. Pete – which is not impossible – suddenly they’re back at the South Side launch pad.

You really think Javier Vazquez can come through in game one?

Well. . . if he can go five (no dive), the bullpen should be rested enough to pick him up.

But he can’t win when he has to.

Shut up.

Look what happened the last two times the Sox trotted him out in must-win games. Or when the Yankees did that. Or the Expos.

Shut up, you’re ruining this.

Look, we just have be realistic here. A split at the Trop isn’t impossible, but it’s asking a lot.

Those Rays though, they’re just kids. The Sox have wisdom and experience on their side.

Don’t forget a one-dimensional, feast-or-famine offense.

You can’t let that go, can you?

No, I can’t. Live and die by the home run if they must, but Rays pitching is superb and their park is pretty big. Not an earth-cave like the Metrodome, but you won’t see any of those two-run 331-footers like you would at Comiskey.

But you admit the Sox could win this.

They could. If Javy pitches like he can, the wealth of strikeouts could kill the Rays’ hit-and-run attempts and suddenly they’ve neutralized at least part of the Rays’ attack. He gets through the sixth, maybe even the seventh inning, and now it’s Power Javy to any of Linebrink, Dotel and Thornton, and finally to Jenks.

You’ve been awfully quiet about Mark Buerhle.

I’m not worried about Mark Buehrle.

That’s probably justified. What about the kids?

Again, it all depends on game one. If there’s any bullpen left by the time this comes back to the South Side, nothing is out of reach. Nothing.

And if there’s not?

Then it’s over.

You talk like this is a war of attrition rather than of firepower.

Well, if you think about it, this really is. The Sox are going to have to play the Rays’ game and they’re going to have to beat them at it. Worse teams have fared better, and for all intents and purposes the hard part of the Sox’ year ended when they won three straight must-win games in a row in three days against three different teams, and they did it all running on fumes. From here on out, everything else is gravy.

Okay smart guy, so tell us who wins.

Rays in four or Sox in four.

You have to pick one.

So do you.

This is why I hate you sometimes.

Right back at you. See you Thursday?