Time off suits White Sox fine

Players, coaches say they'll have advantage tonight over Game 5-weary opponent

October 11, 2005|By CHICAGO TRIBUNE

CHICAGO -- How much is too much?

When does an advantage become a disadvantage?

Where is the line drawn between rest and rust?

All are good questions for the Chicago White Sox, who had three days off waiting for the American League Championship Series to begin tonight at U.S. Cellular Field.

Forget that they didn't know their opponent until late last night. That can be overcome. But can they regain their focus and intensity as easily as the opposition can with no rest?

In other words, will their idleness be that much of a benefit over fatigue?

While the White Sox held light workouts Sunday and yesterday, baseball players are used to the everyday ritual of competitiveness. The White Sox, however, endured a wearying stretch at the end of the regular season when they had only one day off in the final 42.

"This break is just about right," hitting coach Greg Walker said. "Any longer, I would be concerned. But I think this is good for us. We went through a long stretch in winning the division and the first [playoff] round."

Said pitching coach Don Cooper: "We're in a good spot because we've been able to rest and line up the staff the way we want it."

Pitchers usually are less affected by extra days off, especially late in the season when their arms get weary. Game 1 starter Jose Contreras will have only two extra days of rest between turns, though Game 3 starter Jon Garland will have had 12 days off.

Hitters, however, are more used to the daily routine of facing real pitchers trying to get them out instead of batting-practice throwers. Plus they are just coming off the momentum-building high of scoring 24 runs in three games against the Boston Red Sox, an unusual output for them.

"In September we didn't have that many days off," said Jermaine Dye, expected to bat third tonight. "But we also wanted to try to keep the momentum going. It has its advantages going both ways."

The White Sox at least have been at home, while their opponents traveled from coast to coast and then back to Chicago with only Saturday's rainout providing a rest.

"Obviously, the [opponents] are going to be tired, but they'll be on a high and have great thoughts about winning," Paul Konerko said at yesterday's workout. "I don't think the time off will hurt us. We'll be ready to go."

Said Walker: "I watched during batting practice, and I was pleased with the focus and results. And what I was really watching for was the focus level more than the results, like how many home runs they hit."

Ready or not. Too ready or not.

Postseason schedule

DIVISION SERIES (Best of five)

American League

Boston vs. Chicago White Sox

(Chicago wins series, 3-0)

New York Yankees vs. Los Angeles Angels

(Los Angeles wins series, 3-2) Game 1 -- New York 4, Los Angeles 2 Game 2 -- Los Angeles 5, New York 3 Game 3 -- Los Angeles 11, New York 7 Game 4 -- New York 3, Los Angeles 2 Last night -- Los Angeles 5, New York 3

National League

San Diego vs. St. Louis

(St. Louis wins series, 3-0)

Houston vs. Atlanta

(Houston wins series, 3-1)

LEAGUE CHAMP. SERIES

(Best of seven; *-if necessary)

American League

Los Angeles Angels vs. Chicago White Sox

Today -- L.A.@Chicago (Contreras 15-7), 8:19 p.m. Tomorrow -- L.A.@Chicago (Buehrle, 16-8), 8:19 p.m. Friday -- Chicago (Garland 18-10) @ L.A., 8:10 p.m. Saturday -- -- Chi. (Garcia 14-8) @ L.A., 8:15 p.m. *Sunday -- Chicago@Los Angeles, 8:15 p.m. *Next Tuesday -- L.A.@Chicago, 8:20 p.m. *Oct. 19 -- Los Angeles@Chicago, 8:20 p.m.

National League

Houston vs. St. Louis

Tomorrow -- Houston (Pettitte 17-9) @ St. Louis (Carpenter 21-5), 8:19 p.m. Thursday -- Houston@St. Louis, 8:19 p.m. Saturday -- St. Louis@Houston, 4:25 p.m. Sunday -- St. Louis@Houston, 4:35 p.m. *Monday -- St. Louis@Houston, 8:20 p.m. *Oct. 19 -- Houston@St. Louis, 4:20 p.m. *Oct. 20 -- Houston@St. Louis, 8:20 p.m.

WORLD SERIES

(Best of seven; *-if necessary)

Oct. 22 -- NL@AL, 8 p.m.

Oct. 23 -- NL@AL, 8:10 p.m.

Oct. 25 -- AL@NL, 8:30 p.m.

Oct. 26 -- AL@NL, 8:25 p.m.

*Oct. 27 -- AL@NL, 8:25 p.m.

*Oct. 29 -- NL@AL, 7:55 p.m.

*Oct. 30 -- NL@AL, 7:55 p.m.

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