All the talk surrounding the White Sox coming into the American League Championship Series was how their three-game sweep of the Red Sox allowed them to set up the pitching rotation just how they wanted.
It has turned out exactly as planned for the White Sox with Jon Garland delivering the second straight complete game for the Sox and a win to give them a 2-1 series lead.
Garland was the fortunate recipient of an early lead thanks to strong hitting in the first inning. After scoring only two earned runs in the first two games, the Sox put together five in Game 3.
Quality pitching, strong defense and clutch hits have been the story of the Sox all season and if it continues to work like in Game 3, the Sox are well on their way to another celebration.
A look at key statistics through Game 3 of the ALCS.
|ERA||2.00||Starters are carrying Sox to victories|
|BA||.250||Bats starting to heat up at right time|
|BA w/ RISP||.364||Big improvement, but Sox continue to miss some chances|
|Runs||5||Early runs key to victory|
|Errors||0||Great defense backs up Garland|
|Jon Garland||1-0, 2.00 ERA||Twelve-day layoff didn't seem to hurt|
|Paul Konerko||.333, HR, 3 RBIs||One of few Sox players to come up in clutch|
|Aaron Rowand||.091, 0 HR, 0 RBIs||Grounded into double plays twice with two runners on|
Despite the strong offensive numbers, the White Sox stranded six runners on base.
The home run by Konerko in the first inning gave the Sox a 3-0 lead, and the team never looked back.
The smartest move by manager Ozzie Guillen had to be sticking with Garland as his Game 3 starter after so much rest. Going the distance
The back-to-back complete games by Garland and Mark Buehrle marks the first time a team has thrown consecutive complete games in the ALCS since 1982, when the then Califoria Angels saw Tommy John and Bruce Kison toss complete games to open the series. Looking good
Since the ALCS went to seven-game format in 1985, a team holding a 2-1 advantage has advanced to the World Series 12 of 16 times. Last word
"Every time we score first early in the game, we seem like we play better baseball. The first inning set the tone, so we just played the game we always play." -- Guillen
Kelly Thesier is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.