Chicago (14-7) defeated the Angels in five games to capture its first pennant since 1959 thanks to stellar pitching. After falling in the opener, the White Sox’ Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland, Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras became the first staff in 77 years to toss four straight complete-game victories.
The White Sox then swept Houston and win their first championship in 88 years, but their minds won’t be focused on the past.
“When we get there Friday, it will go through our heads what our starters did and what we accomplished there as a team,” Chicago closer Bobby Jenks said. “But once we get to that hour before game time, it’s over. It’s a new year.”
The White Sox are looking to sweep their first regular season series at Angel Stadium since Aug. 5-7, 1994, and will look to Garcia (3-1, 6.23 ERA) to get them started.
The right-hander won his third straight start on Sunday, limiting Minnesota to two runs and seven hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 9-2 win. With the victory, Garcia tied former White Sox pitcher Wilson Alvarez for the most wins by a Venezuelan-born pitcher with 102.
Garcia is 11-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 21 career regular-season starts against the Angels (12-10). Garcia gave up just two runs and six hits in his Game 4 win last season at Los Angeles.
Chicago will gave a pitcher it did not see in last season’s playoffs when Jeff Weaver (1-2, 5.33) tries to even his record.
Weaver picked up his first win with the Angels when he allowed four runs and six hits over six innings Saturday in a 5-4 win over Oakland. He spent the first six seasons of his career in the American League with Detroit and the New York Yankees, and is 5-5 with a 3.52 ERA in 14 career starts against Chicago.
“You always want to play against the best, and it raises your level,” Weaver said, “so we’re looking to make a statement this weekend.”
Chicago still owns the best record in the American League despite having dropped two of three to Seattle, including a 5-1 loss on Wednesday.
Paul Konerko scored Chicago’s only run on Wednesday, and is 9-for-20 with a home run and three RBIs in his last five games.
Jim Thome continues to leads the White Sox with nine home runs, but hasn’t hit one in a season-high four straight games. Thome is just hitting only .179 (5-for-28) with one home run and seven strikeouts in his career against Weaver.
Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-run homer Wednesday, but is hitting only .167 (6-for-36) in his last nine games. Guerrero batted just .050 (1-for-20) against the White Sox in last season’s ALCS.
Los Angeles has won five of its last six series to move atop the AL West.