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2005 White Sox an example for '17 Dodgers

L.A. righty McCarthy reminds fans that Chicago won Series after rocky Sept.
MLB.com @philgrogers

As usual, Brandon McCarthy makes a good point.

And give him extra credit for making it around midnight on a Friday.

As usual, Brandon McCarthy makes a good point.

And give him extra credit for making it around midnight on a Friday.

When the Dodgers pitcher opened up his Twitter account after the latest loss, this one 5-4 to the Rockies, he replied to this Tweet from @AnswerDave, the handle of baseball writer Dan Brown:

Tweet from @BMcCarthy32: have been waiting a while for someone to say this. 15 games up in Aug to 1.5 up on Sept 24th. Panic everywhere. Win div by 6, 11-1 in PS

Few athletes use social media more -- and maybe none better -- than McCarthy, who was a rookie with the White Sox and is currently on the disabled list for the Dodgers, nursing a blister. He's one of our best observers inside the sport, and like Brown, he points out an interesting parallel.

Everyone wants to know what's wrong with the Dodgers, just like they did the White Sox 12 Septembers ago.

The Dodgers were 21 games ahead in the National League West, on pace to match the all-time record of 116 victories, after Kenta Maeda beat the Brewers on Aug. 25. They've lost 13 of 14 since then, and the streaking D-backs have closed within 10 games.

In 2005, the South Siders were cruising toward the postseason, when the Indians came out of nowhere to almost overtake them.

The White Sox had led the American League Central by 15 games on Aug. 1 and were still 9 1/2 games ahead on Sept. 7. They then went 4-10, and suddenly Cleveland was within 1 1/2 games with 10 left to play.

You think Dodger Stadium is tense this weekend? You should have been at U.S. Cellular Field then.

Before the White Sox could get turned around, the Chicago media weighed whether this would be a worse collapse than the one by the Phillies in 1964.

"If there is any sense of mercy, the White Sox will be blacked out the rest of the season so a terminally cursed city needn't witness The Mother of All Collapses,'' one columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times wrote. "The next 14 days and nights will be hell for the Sox, their fans and a city sick of applying the Heimlich maneuver. Watch at your own risk.''

The Dodgers have a long way to go before they reach this point. It's one thing to have your lead down to 10 games, and a whole different thing to see it cut to 1 1/2 games.

Things were so bad in 2005 that manager Ozzie Guillen told Copley News Service columnist Mike Nadel he might quit after the season. Even if the White Sox won the World Series.

"The thing is, I'm stressed every day,'' Guillen said. "Do I have the best job in the world? Yes, because I'm managing the team I love. I'm managing my team. But every time we lose, I feel sick. I puke sometimes. I get mad. I throw things in my office. It makes me crazy.''

McCarthy, who had made his Major League debut only four months earlier, started the loss to the Twins that dropped the White Sox lead to 1 1/2 games. He battled Johan Santana, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, through eight innings in a game Minnesota would win, 4-1, in 11 innings.

Even as a 22-year-old rookie, McCarthy had a great sense of perspective. "It will be interesting to see how we rally,'' he said after that game. "It's by no means over.''

In the end, the late twists and turns would only add some flavor to Chicago's championship season. They had cool customers like Paul Konerko, Mark Buehrle and Juan Uribe in their clubhouse, minimizing the impact of the negativity outside the room.

And, like the Dodgers, they had the lead.

When the Indians couldn't keep up their torrid pace, the White Sox clinched in the 159th game of the season. The celebration was better than the anti-climatic one they would have had if they had maintained their double-digit lead.

Given the World Series ring that McCarthy has squirreled away somewhere, you'd have to say the angst prepared them for October. There's no reason this history can't repeat itself.

Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.