October 21, 2005 – Two long shots – both with dubious histories – meet in the World Series, beginning with Game 1 Saturday at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field. The Chicago White Sox, who were 48/1 to win it all at the start of the season, will face the Houston Astros, 35/1 long shots in April.
bodoglife.com bookmakers have opened the Game 1 moneyline as -136 for the ChiSox to +126 for the Astros.
Game 1 of what is likely to be a low-scoring best-of-seven series will feature a pair of aces on the hill. Jose Contreras starts for the White Sox while Roger Clemens gets the ball for the Astros.
“You have one team that has never made it to the World Series and another that has finally returned after a 46-year hiatus,” says Calvin Ayre, Founder and CEO of bodoglife.com. “These will be hard-fought games, which is fantastic for baseball fans and bettors. It looks like we’re about to witness yet another entertaining World Series.”
The White Sox, who haven’t won a title in 88 years, advanced through the American League with a mix of strong starting pitching and timely hitting. They dominated the AL Central en route to a 99-win season. On the other hand, the Astros had to overcome an 11-19 start to reach the World Series for the first time in their 44-year history.
The wild-card Astros clinched their first league pennant on Wednesday night, eliminating the St. Louis Cardinals in six games in the National League Championship Series. After a number of disappointing playoff appearances, the Astros have finally made it to the Big Show.
With Clemens, who has won 341 regular-season games, Houston has an outstanding opportunity to steal home-field advantage from the White Sox in what seems to be an evenly matched series. The 43-year-old Rocket heads the “Big Three” of the Astros’ rotation while Contreras – one of Chicago’s “Big Four” – comes off a stellar series-clinching performance in Game 5 of the ALCS. He finished off the Los Angeles Angels with a complete game on Sunday. Clemens last pitched on Saturday, when he allowed two runs and six hits in six innings of a Game 3 NLCS win over the Cardinals. With the teams’ solid rotations, the series will likely produce few runs and plenty of tense moments.
There is sure to be drama, too. The ChiSox are making their fifth appearance in the World Series – their first since losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1959. Chicago’s last title was in 1917, when Shoeless Joe Jackson led the White Sox over the New York Giants. In 1919, Jackson and seven other White Sox players were expelled after they were found to have thrown the World Series against Cincinnati. With the heartbreaks and failures that have followed the franchise since the “Black Sox” scandal, the White Sox have been dubbed a cursed team.
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