10/22/2005 8:46 AM ET
Mike Timlin: White Sox are tough
"At this point last year, I was anxious to get the World Series started," said Mike Timlin. (Getty Images)
Coming off a pretty convincing loss in our Division Series to Chicago, I think the White Sox are going to win this World Series because they have a stronger team. But I grew up in Texas, so my heart is with the Astros. They've never even made it to the World Series before, so winning it would be a great accomplishment for the franchise.
One thing the Astros might have in their favor is that the White Sox relievers hardly threw a pitch in the ALCS. Their starters did such a phenomenal job in those final four games that it might turn around to bite them if the bullpen isn't sharp in the World Series.
The White Sox only used Neal Cotts for two-thirds of an inning, so the rest of the bullpen just sat around for the ALCS. Now they've been sitting for almost two weeks. Pitching in some simulated games can help keep you a little sharp, but that's nothing like facing live Major League batters in postseason baseball games. You can throw on the side, but it's just not the same.
You don't lose your mental edge so much, but I think the layoff will affect their breaking balls and their location a little bit. Losing a little bit of location in an important game came mean a lot at this level. That could be a key in the Series.
But the White Sox lineup is rested and well balanced. They have some good speed to make things happen with Scott Podsednik, Aaron Rowand and Tadahito Iguchi. Then they have some guys like Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye and Carl Everett who can play long ball.
That balance fits Ozzie Guillen's managing style. That versatility allows him to play aggressive. He can start runners, play some hit-and-run, bunt and steal some bases, but he also has enough power in the lineup to clear the bases once in a while.
At this point last year, I was anxious to get the World Series started. There's been so much hype and anticipation that you just want to get on the field and get that first pitch thrown. Then all of the anxiety disappears and you're just playing baseball again.
Mike Timlin has pitched for the Blue Jays, Mariners, Orioles, Cardinals, Phillies and Red Sox over 15 seasons in the Majors. During that span, he's reached the postseason eight times and pitched in three World Series. This past season, the 39-year-old right-hander made a record 81 appearances for the Red Sox, posting a career-best 2.24 ERA with 13 saves.