With two right-handers, Bobby Jenks and Cliff Politte, warming up in the bullpen, Chicago White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen had to do more than just point to an arm to indicate which reliever he wanted during the eighth inning. So Guillen put his hands in the air and then widened them apart to signify girth and raised his right hand high to signify height.
Both are distinctive features of Jenks, a rookie who has become Chicago's closer and who was needed to save Saturday's 5-3 win against the Astros in Game 1 of the World Series.
"I've got two righties. I've got a little one," Guillen said. "So that's the trademark now. I don't want to embarrass the kid, but I want the big boy."
Jenks ran to the mound with a television cameraman only a few feet behind, and the crowd roared.
"I think it's pretty funny calling the big guy in," Jenks said of Guillen's gesture. "I know he does a lot of things out of humor. He doesn't mean anything by it. I'm taking it with a smile."
The Chicago bullpen had thrown all of seven pitches in the American League Championship Series and many wondered whether too much rest would affect the bullpen. The answer arrived in the form of six overpowering fastballs by Jenks and two strikeouts by Neal Cotts.
Cotts had not pitched since Oct. 11, and Jenks had not worked since the clinching game against the Boston Red Sox in the Division Series on Oct. 7. Neither seemed a bit affected by the layoff.
Cotts came in after starter Jose Contreras allowed a leadoff double in the eighth. He allowed a single to put men on first and third, but then struck out Morgan Ensberg and Jason Lane for the first two outs.
"With no outs, you're just trying to minimize damage with runners on first and third," Cotts said. "Once I got the first strikeout, then I was going for a ground ball. I ended up having a strikeout, and Bobby came in and did the rest."
A strikeout was not necessary, but Jenks provided it anyway. He blazed his fastball while warming up. It was the only pitch he trusted.
"I couldn't find anything else," Jenks said.
Houston designated hitter Jeff Bagwell is certainly no mediocre player, but with only three at-bats in the postseason entering Saturday, he was an easy task for Jenks. Bagwell missed almost every fastball, and the two he hit were fouled back meekly.
"I swung at a couple of high fastballs, but I'm getting the bat head there," Bagwell said. "I just need to get the ball down a little bit. He's a guy that just comes in and throws hard. Whether you have 35 or 40 postseason at-bats, a guy throwing 100 miles per hour, it's not that easy."
None of Jenks's pitches were slower than 99 mph, but with such power, control became an issue. With two strikes, Jenks threw a 100-mph fastball high. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski almost jumped in the air to catch the ball.
From the dugout, Guillen whistled at Jenks. Guillen lowered his two hands, signaling for the rookie to settle down. It was not easy. The crowd had chanted his name several times. The tying run was at third, and the go-ahead run at second. Jenks took a deep breath. Two pitches later, he struck out Bagwell with a 100-mph cut fastball. Jenks retired the ninth inning in order.
After the final out, Guillen came out of the dugout and put his arms around his large closer. The manager had called upon the right pitcher.