"When you can get guys on with him at the plate, you like your chances," White Sox left fielder Scott Podsednik said. "He's been doing it all season."
It seems that way.
Konerko finished 3-for-4 with one home run and three RBIs in the White Sox 5-2 victory in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. He hit .283 with at least 40 home runs and 100 RBIs during the regular season. He is hitting .333 in 12 at-bats in the ALCS.
"Paul's a big-time player, and he gets paid the big bucks to do those things," White Sox center fielder Aaron Rowand said.
Konerko, who can become a free agent this offseason, earned his money Friday.
In the first inning, Podsednik led off with a single to right field off Angels starter John Lackey and moved to second base when Tadahito Iguchi followed with a sacrifice bunt. Jermaine Dye followed with an RBI double that put the White Sox ahead, 1-0.
Six pitches later, Konerko drove Lackey's delivery over the wall in left-center to push the White Sox lead to 3-0. The home run was Konerko's first in the ALCS and third in this postseason. He also hit a home run in the third inning in Game 1 of the American Division League Series against Boston's Matt Clement and in the sixth inning of Game 3 against the Red Sox.
"I don't think I saw a fastball the whole at-bat, I'm pretty sure I didn't," Konerko said. "I don't know -- you're trying to get a read on whether he's coming after you or not coming after you. I was trying to just resist the urge to think that he was going to walk me and start with the next guy, because when you do that, you usually let a good one go. I was trying to stay in there but not try to do too much. It didn't really feel all that great."
In the third inning, Konerko struck out swinging on four pitches. The Angels would not be so lucky in the fifth. Iguchi smacked a double with one out. One out later, Konerko drove him home with a single to extend the lead to 5-0.
He added a single to left field in the eighth inning. Not a bad night considering Konerko came into Friday's game with one hit in the first two ALCS games.
"It wasn't like a relief like we haven't been swinging the bats well," Konerko said. "I think it was more, the first couple games, it was for tipping your hat to their pitcher, so it wasn't like relief like we've been in a slump or anything like that. When you're on the road in front of a big crowd that's rowdy and into it, it's always good to get on the board even with a run in the first."
The White Sox are two wins away from reaching the World Series and remain confident --- not cocky. Everyone in visitors clubhouse knows the series is far from over.
"When you have good games, you've got to forget about those, because when you're playing a good team like the Angels, those guys will be ready to play," Konerko said. "Ozzie [Guillen] told us at the beginning of the playoffs, every time you win a game in the playoffs, the next game will be the toughest game to win because the team you're playing is good and they're going to dig down even harder to win that game because now they have to do it."