So, after watching me, Madame Brandi the Magnificent, pick the winners of all six postseason series to date, and seeing that I have named the correct game of completion for four of the six, you are all eagerly awaiting my word on the Championship itself. Who does Her Luminescence see within the haze of the future lofting their fists in triumph? Okay, so maybe you're not that eagerly awaiting my word, but as usual, you're going to get anyway. It's become clear to me that I know my National League pretty well, but my AL skills are severely lacking. This might make gauging the White Sox a little more difficult, but here goes.
First of all, this won't be a sweep. The Series should stretch to six or seven games as both these teams have great starting pitching and while both are solid at the plate, neither has the offensive threat that the Red Sox brought last year -which means close, low scoring contests will be the norm and the likelihood of running the gamut therefore decreases significantly (if any of you wish to counter this stance with Chicago's recent success - the sweeps of Cleveland and Boston and only a close loss of Game One to the Angels standing between them and perfection in the last thirteen, I would in fact argue that this in fact increases the likelihood of a near term correction to their season-long pythag record).
Both teams are finishing strong, winning at near identical clips over their last fifty games, (including the playoffs, the White Sox are 32/18, and the Astros 31/19) which is another reason to believe this series to go deep. As far as pitching matchups, the only thing fairly certain in my mind is that Roy Oswalt beats Jon Garland in Game Seven if it comes to that. Game three on the other hand could go either way. Ditto for the these first two, as Contreras, Buehrle, Garland matches up fairly well to Clemens, Pettite, Oswalt. Garcia versus Backe in Game four is the outlier in skill level and should be key to the series. I think I like Buehrle in a Game Six at US Cellular.
Betting against Clemens in Game Five at Minute Maid on the other hand is a fool's errand. Therefore, I think I've got it then. For the White Sox to win, they have to take a three to one lead in the fourth game. They cannot go back to Chicago with the Astros only needing a split because Oswalt's the giantslayer this postseason. Will they win two out of the first three? It's possible and it's even possible that they'll win that third game in the pivot, but I'm not expecting it.
So here we go: The first four games are split, one loss by the Sox comes late and people will question Guillen pining the pen for so long in the ALCS. The 'Stros ride Clemens to game five, and then the Sox come back big behind Buehrle in game six to once more even things up. The Chicago media has eaten into the South-side's frenzy of anticipation. 1917. 1919. All of it coming back. And then... Roy Oswalt shuts the door and quiets the crowd with a performance for the ages. Does he win the Series MVP? I don't know, I could see him having a set-back in game three, therefore pushing the trophy to offensive hero Morgan Ensberg. The Astros will win this series in seven, though that's for sure. Madame Brandi has spoken.