Friday, September 26, 2008

Tribe Seeks Revenge

From, written by Anthony Castrovince

BOSTON -- A smile creeps across Jhonny Peralta's face when he thinks about the final weekend of the 2005 season.

Not because of the way it ended, mind you. He will never smile about that.

This smile relates to what could happen to the White Sox this weekend at U.S. Cellular Field.

Revenge, anyone?

"Maybe we could do something to them," Peralta said through that smile. "You never know."

You know how '05 ended. The Indians had a chance to reach the postseason for the first time in four years, but the White Sox, winners of the American League Central, swept them on the Tribe's own turf in the season's final three games. And so Cleveland sat at home in October, its 93-win season rendered moot.

The lasting image of that series is White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen grasping his throat -- his little way of telling the Indians that they'd choked.

It's been three years, and only a handful of faces (Peralta, Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez, Cliff Lee and Rafael Betancourt) remain in the Tribe clubhouse from the list of '05 regulars.

But as the White Sox, embroiled in a brutal battle with the Twins for division supremacy in these waning days of the regular season, fight for their postseason lives, the Indians, who close out '08 with three games at U.S. Cellular, can have a say in how the AL Central shakes out.

"Knowing they're trying to make the playoffs might boost us a little bit," Lee said. "That gives us a little more momentum. But we're going to play hard and try to win no matter who we play."

Lee's playing days might be done for '08. He's been bothered this week by a stiff neck, and the Indians might hold him out of Sunday's regular-season finale if it turns out to not have any bearing on the postseason setup.

Peralta, on the other hand, will most definitely be playing. In fact, with Andy Marte's season over, he is expecting to get the start at third base on Friday night.

He's hoping that the Indians can put an exclamation point on a season that fell short of expectations.

"We have to play hard," he said. "We have to try to win every game."

That's what the White Sox did in '05. And if the Indians have their way this weekend, the choke joke will be on Chicago.

Picture added by me

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