World champion 2005 White Sox have some advice for this year’s team

“The best thing they can do is maintain chemistry, stick together, and that’s the best way they can accomplish and get through August and September despite a difficult season,” said former Sox pitcher Jose Contreras.

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White Sox pitchers, from left, Jon Garland, Mark Buehrle, Jose Contreras, and Freddy Garcia, far right, celebrate with pitching coach Don Cooper, second right, after winning the 2005 ALCS. The Sox went on to win the World Series.

White Sox pitchers, from left, Jon Garland, Mark Buehrle, Jose Contreras, and Freddy Garcia, far right, celebrate with pitching coach Don Cooper, second right, after winning the 2005 ALCS. The Sox went on to win the World Series.

Kevork Djansezian/AP

They survived a seven-game losing streak and the loss of their top slugger for more than three-fourths of the season.

But that’s where the comparisons end between the 2005 world champion White Sox and the 2022 team that has failed miserably to play up to expectations after two consecutive playoff appearances.

“The best thing they can do is maintain chemistry, stick together, and that’s the best way they can accomplish and get through August and September despite a difficult season,” 2005 star pitcher Jose Contreras said.

Contreras, now a team ambassador, was one of several members from the 2005 team scheduled to participate in two charity golf tournaments Monday and reminisced about the intangibles that kept them resilient through the tough times the 2022 team has experienced.

“Just the camaraderie we had in the clubhouse, and everybody getting along so well,” said third baseman Joe Crede, known for his clutch hitting in the playoffs. “Not all the time, but we had a good mix of players who held players accountable, and that’s huge within the clubhouse.

“If you were struggling, you always had a guy to go to on certain aspects of your game, whether it was offense or defense. You didn’t have to really rely on the coaches all the time, [but] they were always there for us.”

The current Sox face a five-game deficit with 34 games left, making their 21-15 record in one-run games seem like an anomaly due to the array of late-inning setbacks.

“It’s a tough game, it’s a long season and you can’t get too caught up in that,” said pitcher Jon Garland, sporting a beard and living in his native Southern California.

“If you get caught up in [thinking, We need to win five straight, six straight, 10 straight [games], we need to jump back in this,’ … you’re not going to get it.”

Unlike the 2022 team, Garland (who won a career-high 18 games) and Crede recalled there weren’t great expectations for the 2005 team, which was retooled in the winter but blended quickly. The team transformed into a more well-rounded group with the acquisition of leadoff batter Scott Podsednik and second baseman Tadahito Iguchi, seasoned power hitter Jermaine Dye and Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez and Dustin Hermanson, who fortified the rotation and bullpen, respectively.

“It’s a hard game when you bring so many personalities together,” Garland said. “And in sports, to me, a lot comes to trust. When you trust the guy next to you, you’re going to play better, and he’s going to play better. When you bring so many guys from the outside, free agents, it’s hard to build that.”

Garland added that the 2005 team blended well, with a few exceptions.

“And when you get a group of guys that click like we did, we’d get to the field early just to play cards or hang out,” Garland said. “When that happens, good things happen on the field.”

The 2005 team, with plenty of newcomers, had the benefit of a normal six weeks of spring training to prepare for the season. They embarked on a 27-9 start and built a 15-game lead that provided a handy cushion when they lost seven consecutive games in August and had their lead shrink to 1½ games with 10 games left.

“The relationship that we built with everybody over the course of the season, nobody ever panicked,” Garland said. “Nobody was ever [thinking] like, ‘Oh, we’re losing the ship here.’ ”

They also won despite Hall of Fame slugger Frank Thomas playing only 34 games because of a fracture of his surgically repaired left foot. Meanwhile, Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson and Yasmani Grandal have played in less than two-thirds of their games this season because of injuries.

Because of injuries, doubleheaders and rescheduled games stemming from postponements, the Sox have used 10 starting pitchers this season — four more than they used in 2005.

“I mean, golly, they carried us a long way,” Crede said.

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