Early lead lets Rays set the tone; good things in Sox' future
Q. That wasn't the pitching performance you expected, was it?
A. I was very surprised we didn't hit Andy Sonnanstine. We only got a couple of hits off him and there was nothing special about what he was throwing.
I didn't think Gavin Floyd had much going early, and that's when you know he's in trouble. When he's struggling to get his fastball over, he gets behind on the count, and that makes it easier to hit his curve. He does give up the longball when that happens.
Q. Was the tone to this game set early?
A. It was set very early. We needed to get the lead first, and it seems like they jumped to a lead in every game, and we were only able to answer back one time in this series.
Q. The Sox appeared to be frustrated, didn't they?
A. There were a couple of bad calls on balls and strikes. You rarely see Paul Konerko upset or arguing with an umpire, so you know it was bad. This White Sox team doesn't get frustrated, though. They don't get down.
Q. Would things have been a lot different with Carlos Quentin in the lineup?
A. Yes, but this team never stopped trying. They lost a starting pitcher, and all-star third baseman, an MVP candidate, and still won the division.
Q. Did the better team win?
A. The Rays are a good, young team. They won 97 games. They've got a good bullpen, they use their speed, they hit OK but not great, and they have great speed on defense. When their starters do the job, they're tough to beat.
Q. Are they good enough to go all the way?
A. Anyone is capable now of winning it all. Anaheim is probably better built to beat them, but the Boston Red Sox are the defending champions and they'll be tough to beat. You can't count out anyone at this level, but the Rays will find out that the championship series is a little rougher to get through.
Q. What do you see ahead for the White Sox?
A. They will get nothing but better. Ozzie Guillen will get the speed he needs, and Kenny Williams will get him some other key pieces, perhaps find another Scott Linebrink out there.
They won the division without a leadoff hitter, without a center fielder, and with A.J. Pierzynski forced to bat second most of the year. And they did it with their sluggers hitting .230 for most of the year.
That's why I say it was Ozzie's best year ever. They will be even better next season.
• Former White Sox third baseman Bill Melton is Comcast SportsNet's studio analyst on "White Sox Pre-Game Live" and "White Sox Post Game Live." He led the American League with 33 homers in 1971.