The Warriors did not sweep the Cavaliers, losing an insanely entertaining (and weird) game, 137-116 Friday night. The series moves back to Oakland for Game 5 on Monday. The Warriors missed their chance at history; they were one game away from completing the first perfect run through the playoffs. I suppose 16-1 is still pretty impressive.
MLB has also never had a perfect playoff run of more than two series. Since baseball expanded to six divisions and two wildcards in 1995, there have only been two teams to lose just once: the 1999 Yankees and 2005 White Sox.
The reason for the ridiculous White Sox run was great starting pitching. The Red Sox only scored nine runs in an ALDS sweep, the Angels scored 11 in the five ALCS games, and the Astros scored 14 in four World Series games. Overall, that's 2.83 runs per game. Most of the success came from the four White Sox starters.
After losing the first game of the ALCS to the Angels, the White Sox starters above rattled off four straight complete games. Buehrle gave up one run on 99 pitches, Garland followed with two runs on 118, Garcia gave up two on 116, and Contreras finished it off with three runs on 114. It was the first time four pitchers threw consecutive complete games in the playoffs since the Yankees in the 1956 World Series. That surely was the highlight of Don Cooper's five decade run as pitching coach for the Sox.
The White Sox pitching was great, but their offense also came through in the right moments. The Sox averaged 5.6 runs per game and eight different batters combined to hit 18 home runs (5 for Konerko, 4 for Crede). Two homers stick out in my memory, both from the World Series. Scott Posednik—0 HR in 568 regular season PA—hit a walk-off in game 2. And 32-year-old utility man Geoff Blum hit the go-ahead homer in the 14th inning of Game 3.
If the Warriors finish off the Cavs on Monday night, they will be the most dominant playoff team of the 21st century. Don't forget the 2005 White Sox were just as good.
And that makes A.J. Pierzynski Draymond Green.