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Another day, another insult for the Sox, who have not won a postseason series since 1917. The crosstown Cubs chose not to wait for an off day in the series to fire their manager, Jim Lefebvre. Instead they did it during Game 2 and sent a release around the Comiskey Park press box announcing the move. Such is life in Chicago, where the fourth-place Cubs outdrew the White Sox this season. The Sox's attendance has declined for two straight seasons since new Comiskey Park opened in 1991, and even when Comiskey is filled, as it was last week, it can be awfully quiet. "Ghost town" is how shortstop Ozzie Guillen describes his home stadium.
Most of the 46,101 on hand for Game 2 left in a foul mood. It was bad enough that Stewart, pitching with no outs in the sixth and the bases as jammed as the city's Kennedy Expressway, set down three straight Sox without allowing a run. The fans were angry too at the replacement for injured Frank Thomas in the field, Dan Pasqua, who dropped one throw at first base, butchered another and left five runners on base; and at Lamont, who for a second straight day chose not to use Bo Jackson. So the fans backed their team in its 3-1 loss with several rounds of booing.
Jackson displayed a similar lack of class, somehow finding it odd that Lamont would dare use Pasqua instead of someone who had fanned 106 times in 284 at bats this year and was a lifetime .199 hitter against Toronto pitching. "We've been playing for two days one man short," Jackson said after Game 2. An irritated Lamont said the next day, "I don't like comments like that. If Bo went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts, I would hope no one would say we played one man short. I'm upset because I think it was directed not only toward me, but it was also directed toward a player."
The next day brought Lamont still another crisis, this one from George Bell, a second DH driven to repugnancy by two games on the bench. Bell, who had finished the year on an 0-for-23 tear, told The Toronto Sun he had no respect for Lamont "as a manager or a man" and that as many as 11 other players felt the same way. "The one thing George did," Lamont said, "is bite the hand of one of his biggest backers and most important backers."
Managing the White Sox is not exactly chaperoning a church outing. Schueler and Reinsdorf gave Lamont a roster with little flexibility and with huge egos in small roles. In addition to Jackson and Bell, Lamont was saddled this year with Steve Sax, Bobby Thigpen, Carlton Fisk and Dave Stieb—all of them former All-Stars who were given little to do. Even Schueler admitted Lamont "has been the calm in the storm. This is an extremely hard team to manage, partly because the players we brought over to be starting are now sitting on the bench. If he has one fault, it's that he's too honest. We found that out at his first press conference when he admitted he was a Cubs' fan."
In danger of departing the series without victory or honor, the White Sox rallied with two wins on the road. This happened for two reasons. First, no one paid serious attention to the comments of Jackson and Bell. "We're used to it," Raines said of the chaos. "It doesn't seem like anything comes easily with this team, though I admit we've never been through it in the playoffs before."
Secondly, Lamont used his only lefthanded starter, 23-year-old Wilson Alvarez, in Game 3. The Blue Jays hit 19 points worse against lefthanders this season and were 22-25 in games started by them. "They're as mystified and unable to explain it as I am," said Toronto batting coach Larry Hisle. "We have the kind of talent that should be delighted to see a lefthander out there." Predictably Alvarez beat the Jays 6-1 with a complete-game seven-hitter.
Though 22-year-old Jason Bere lasted only 2⅓ innings in Game 4, the Sox won again, 7-4, because Toronto manager Cito Gaston allowed his starter, Todd Stottlemyre, to linger through a three-run sixth inning. With a 3-2 lead and the bases empty, Stottlemyre threw a very hittable fastball to Thomas, whom the Jays wisely had walked eight times in his previous 16 plate appearances. The Big Hurt crushed the pitch 433 feet to tie the score.
Three batters and two walks later, 160-pound Lance Johnson ripped a two-run triple to send Chicago ahead for good. Four innings earlier the Little Ouch had whacked his first home run in his last 690 at bats. Said Johnson, "A little guy came through tonight. There were a lot of little guys watching TV tonight. I know. I used to be one of them. Maybe they're saying, 'If he can do it, I can do it.' "
Guzman, pitching on the day after the Dodgers dumped Sharperson, then restored order in Game 5. He even kept Johnson in the park. So sure was Guzman of victory that he didn't bother sticking around for the ninth; with the Jays leading 5-1 he retired to the weight room for some routine arm exercises.