Ozzie, with help from Orlando Hernandez, kept telling Contreras how good he is until he finally believed them. No pitcher in baseball has been hotter the past couple of months.
That's all he needed: two dudes telling him he's good. It's interesting that Joe Torre never tried that.
Ozzie took an Angels castoff named Bobby Jenks -- a July minor-league call-up -- and turned him into the closer he lacked.
This was a good move. But the real story is how fortunate the White Sox have been to get career years out of journeymen Dustin Hermanson (2.04 ERA this year, 4.21 career ERA) and Cliff Politte (2.00 / 4.06) as well as an amazing year from young Neal Cotts (1.94 ERA after a 5.65 ERA last year).
How much of that was Ozzie? I'm speaking for Bayless when I say 100%.
Ozzie pushed El Duque's button to get the White Sox out of a bases-loaded, no-outs jam against the Red Sox in the sixth inning of Game 3.
He pushed his button. It's that simple.
And of course, Ozzie let his starters finish all nine innings of all four victories over the Angels. No manager in baseball would have been crazy -- or shrewd -- enough to sit on his hands and ignore The Book and his bullpen.
It's possible he should have allowed some members of his bullpen to get some work in so they wouldn't be entering the World Series with a minimum of 11 days off (and that's just Cotts -- no other relief pitcher has thrown in a game since October 7th!). Of course, the ChiSox won those four games, and that's the most important thing, but they likely could have won them and not had their bullpen be that rusty.
That was last year the White Sox played in the World Series. That team had three big stars -- Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox and Early Wynn.
This team has Ozzie.
You heard it here first: Ozzie will become the first man to pitch five complete games and hit seventeen inside the park home runs in a single game.
Series prediction: Ozzie in 3 (Astros will give up and return to their homes in fear midway through the third game).
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