10/24/2005 6:46 PM ET
Mike Timlin: White Sox in good position
"There's still plenty of World Series left," says
Mike Timlin. (Rich Pilling/Getty Images)
Like every other baseball fan in America, I never thought Scott Podsednik would hit a walk-off home run against Brad Lidge.
Every player in the Major Leagues has the ability to go deep, but you really couldn't expect that from Podsednik, especially at that moment against one of the game's best closers. That's one of the reasons Lidge challenged him with a fastball in the strike zone.
You don't want to get beat on a secondary pitch. If you're going to get beat, you want to make the hitter hit your best pitch. In Lidge's case, that's his fastball.
The other thing he wanted to avoid was walking him. At that point in the game, a speedy guy like Podsednik was more than likely going to try to steal second. With Tadahito Iguchi coming up next, there was also the possibility of a hit-and-run because Iguchi handles the bat very well.
So it was the right way to pitch against him. I'm sure if the Astros had the same exact situation over again that they'd pitch him the exact same way. So it was the right strategy, but the result just wasn't there this time around.
To Lidge's credit he reacted well and didn't second-guess himself. He understood that he did what he was supposed to do and in the way he was supposed to do it. Sometimes you just have to say it just wasn't your day and go get 'em the next time.
The playing conditions made things difficult for everybody on the field, but I thought the players on both teams did a great job of not letting it affect them.
From a pitcher's standpoint, that cold, wet weather makes it particularly difficult to grip your breaking ball, but you can still throw your fastball in almost any weather. The weather will make it difficult to throw your sliders and curveballs, however, because you lose the feel of the ball.
I thought the pitchers on both teams handled it like true professionals, though. They disregarded the elements and persevered under difficult conditions. I was impressed by the control that some of the relievers showed coming into the game in the rain.
My Red Sox were in the same position as the White Sox at this point in last year's Series -- up by two games going into the National League city. We were very confident at that point. We had been playing so well at home that we knew all we really had to do was win one game out of the three and get the Series back to Fenway Park.
There was no pressure on us. The day off, the media day, was a beautiful day in St. Louis and we really enjoyed ourselves. We knew we were there for a purpose but we were able to put everything aside and really relax that day.
As much as I've been rooting for the Astros, I have to think that the White Sox, if their mindset is anything like ours was at this time last year, are in a really good position right now. Meanwhile, the Astros have to be feeling a little pressure.
Neither team gives up, though, as evidenced by Game 2 coming down to the last swing. There's still plenty of World Series left.
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.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.