10/16/05 2:41 AM ET
Podsednik back to his old tricks again
Sox leadoff hitter gets on base four times, steals two bases
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
If all goes according to his plan, the fun is just beginning.
The White Sox left fielder finished 1-for-2 with three walks and two runs scored in Chicago's 8-2 victory against the Angels in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday. In four ALCS games, the leadoff man is hitting .357 with four runs scored, four walks and two stolen bases.
More importantly for the White Sox, Podsednik and his Chicago teammates are one victory away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 1959. The White Sox scored three runs in the first inning for the second consecutive night in Saturday's win.
"Offensively, we wanted to try to get to them early," Podsednik said. "We wanted to try and pick up where he left off last night, put some pressure on early, get some guys on base. That's been myself, [Tadahito] Iguchi's focus is to try to get on for those guys hitting behind us."
Podsednik's success should not come as a surprise. During the regular season, he hit .290 with 28 doubles, 25 RBIs and 59 stolen bases in 128 games. He led the American League with 39 infield hits and 16 bunts.
"I'm feeling decent at the plate," he said. "Any way I can reach base, I will. I reached a couple of times on walks. I don't necessarily have to go out and get hits. I have to get aboard. ... When you get on base and you have guys like Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye and Carl Everett swinging the bat the way they are, you like your chances."
In the first inning, Podsednik walked and eventually scored on Konerko's home run. He grounded out in the second frame. He reached base via walk again in the fifth, stole second base and once again scored -- this time on a base hit by Everett.
Podsednik walked for the third time in the game in the seventh inning and stole second base again. He was eventually stranded at third base.
"Those guys at the top, our runs have gone hand-in-hand with those guys getting on base," Konerko said. "We have won games without those guys hitting well, but we have won our best games and played our best when those guys are clicking. I hope it keeps going. They have done a heck of a job."
In the ninth, Podsednik hit in a liner in the gap between Angels right fielder Vladimir Guerrero and center fielder Steve Finley and turned an easy double into a hustling triple.
Even in the final inning with a six-run lead, Podsednik's effort never wavered. No matter the score, he -- like his White Sox teammates -- isn't going to give the Angels any help in their effort to come back.
"We knew it was going to be dogfight from Day 1," Podsednik said "[Angels manager] Mike Scioscia is going have his team ready to play [Sunday], so we better be ready to play."
The White Sox starting pitching has been ready since the start of the ALCS. Starters have worked all but two-thirds of the 36 innings in this series.
"I can't say enough about our pitching staff," Podsednik said. "They have set the tone from Day 1. To have three starters go out there and give you three complete games is pretty much unheard of."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.