This was only the second time in their last 16 games that Ozzie Guillen's juggernaut has allowed more than three runs. And they won both of those games, the 5-4 victory over Boston is Game 2 of the Division Series, and Sunday night's freeze-dried instant South Side Classic.
MEMO TO AARON ROWAND
Be sure to get to Minute Maid Park early on Monday for the off-day workout, and spend it shagging fly balls. Oh, and pay particular attention to your backtrack. Maybe you should also put in some time falling and getting back up.
Welcome to Houston's fun center field, which in some first-time visitors can trigger a case of the Hill Street Blues. When it opened in 2000 as a blend of other ballparks, past and present, Minute Maid included a banked patch in dead center, borrowed from, of all places, Cincinnati's old Crosley Field.
Tal's Hill, named for former Astros GM Tal Smith, can be a trip. Literally.
Recalling longtime teammate Craig Biggio's introduction to the slope, Jeff Bagwell says, "He had a couple of face plants on that."
Your club has already played Minute Maid, Aaron, but you were only a couple of years out of Cal State Fullerton in 2000, when it was Chris Singleton's problem.
REASONS TO HOPE
Jon Garland is on his second wind. His fast start -- 15-4 on July 22 -- faded into six losses in his last nine regular-season decisions, but the convincing four-hitter over the Angels in the pivotal Game 3 of the American League Championship Series showed he is back on track -- and that could derail the Astros.
Speaking of the Astros, Biggio and Bagwell finally landing in a World Series has made for a nice story. As has Roger Clemens fulfilling his homecoming destiny by leading them here. But they're all showing the flip side of that angle -- age, the wear and tear of a long season punctuating long careers.
REASONS TO WORRY
Judge Roy will be presiding, and Roy Oswalt has been sentencing batters to oh-fers all year, following up a 20-win season with already three more in October. Oswalt snatched a pennant from the jaws of despair with a Game 6 performance in the National League Championship Series that flat out psyched the Cardinals.
The White Sox haven't seen his caliber of firepower. They can turn down their approach a notch and play contact-ball against his stuff, but being drawn by Minute Maid Park's inviting dimensions into overswinging and that heat would be a bad combination.
On their way out of U.S. Cellular Field late Sunday night, Mark Buehrle's family paused for a long look around, with a guy in the party explaining, "We may not be here again, so I want to soak it all in." Have the Sox seen the last of their park this year?
That all depends on what happens in Tuesday's Game 3. If Garland matches up with Oswalt and keeps the game close enough for the Sox's superior bullpen to make the difference, we may not even get a look at Game 5, much less another look at the South Side.
With a 3-0 lead and a month's worth of momentum, Freddy Garcia would show up for Game 4 against Brandon Backe with hammer in hand and champagne on ice.