Sox have stats on their side in Houston
Chicago went 7-2 at NL parks in Interleague Play
HOUSTON -- The White Sox are two victories away from their first World Series championship in 88 years and are optimistic that the trip to Minute Maid Park for their first taste of National League ball this postseason will be a successful one.
With good reason.
The White Sox went 7-2 at National League parks this season during Interleague Play. Overall, the club went 12-6 against the NL during the regular season.
"I've been in both leagues and I don't see any difference," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I think the National League is easier to pitch in than the American League. The strategy is different than the American League because you have to do double-switches and you have to be careful with the moves you make. I don't know which one I like better."
In addition to pitchers hitting in Houston, there is at least one more major change that will affect the White Sox.
Carl Everett, the club's designated hitter, is the odd man out in Houston. Guillen said he plans on starting Scott Podsednik in left field, Aaron Rowand in center and Jermaine Dye in right. Everett will be the first man off the bench, Guillen said. Outfielder Timo Perez, along with infielders Geoff Blum and Pablo Ozuna, will likely see their roles increased.
"I've got three players on the bench who are National League players, and that's why I feel a little more comfortable," the manager said.
Guillen said he did not tell Everett about the lineup change in Houston. Why would he?
"He should know," the manager said. "I don't like telling the players about what I am going to do, because that's when the managers get into trouble. It's not because you don't respect the players. It's because the manager has the right. Have some common sense. I will let my players know when they will have the day off tomorrow. I'm not going to tell them they are not playing tomorrow. Why? I'm the manager and I play the way I want."
Doing things Guillen's way -- like it or not -- is nothing new. He used the same lineup for the 10th straight postseason game in Sunday's 7-6 victory. He did not use the same lineup more than three consecutive games during the season, a strategy that was sometimes questioned.
"I was criticized a lot by the Chicago baseball geniuses about using my bench too much," Guillen said. "All of a sudden, I look at the stats and my players all have .500 bats. Do you know the reason why I give them a lot of rest? It's because I want them to play in the playoffs every day.
"In the playoffs and World Series, you don't need a day off," Guillen continued. "You have to go out and perform. This is my lineup and I'm going to stick with it."
Even at Minute Maid Park? Guillen's answer is yes. That is, with a few personnel changes.
"It has kind of weird dimensions, but it's a beautiful ballpark," Guillen said. "It's loud. I worry about the left field, and it's pretty short. But it's another ballpark and you have to make adjustments. ... I hope our pitching staff plays the same way. When your starters throw the ball good, it makes it easy to make the move later in the game."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.