HOUSTON (AP) – Bobby Jenks was as relaxed as a rookie could be, playing cards in the clubhouse Monday, his thoughts far removed from his first blown save in the World Series.

Maybe it was because as soon Scott Podsednik bailed out Jenks and the White Sox with a bottom-of-the-ninth homer in Game 2 Sunday night, manager Ozzie Guillen made sure he found his hefty closer and told him to get over it.

And do it in a hurry.

“He said, “Stuff like that happens. Be sure you’re ready for the next day,”‘ Jenks said after a workout at Minute Maid Park. “As soon as the ball went out of the park, obviously the team went out and I was looking around for Bobby,” Guillen said. “You don’t have to look twice because you can see him right away.”

And when Guillen hit the White Sox’s clubhouse Monday, he spotted starter Mark Buehrle giving the 6-foot-3, 270-pound Jenks a hug.

“That’s us,” Guillen said. “That’s the way we are. “Don’t worry about it, just get it tomorrow.’ I think the closer’s job is the toughest job in baseball. You get paid to close and then when you don’t, people are all over your case.”

Jenks says he’s fully aware of the closer’s mandatory approach to ending ball games: don’t dwell on the previous game, whether it was good or bad. Especially with a championship perhaps resting on how he pitches and the crowd noise deafening on each pitch he delivers. Don’t forget, too, that just under four months ago, Jenks was making his major league debut after being promoted from Double-A.

After a two-week respite and not pitching at all in the AL championship series, Jenks came into Game 1 against the Houston Astros and struck out three of the four batters he faced, including Jeff Bagwell on a 100 mph fastball, to earn the save in his first-ever World Series appearance. He jumped off the mound in joy.

Twenty-four hours later, he got smacked with the other end of his highly visible job.

He gave up a single to Bagwell, issued a walk and yielded a tying, two-run single to Jose Vizcaino with two outs in the ninth. Jenks then got pulled.

Winning soothed the disappointment of his outing.

“It was nice, even though what happened in the top of the ninth. You can get it over it real easy with a win like that,” Jenks said. “I made a good pitch and Vizcaino did a good job taking his approach to the plate and going the other way with it.”

Jenks, more than anyone, can understand what Houston closer Brad Lidge is dealing with. One of the most unhittable pitchers in the majors all season, Lidge has given up gut-wrenching homers to Albert Pujols in the NLCS and then Sunday night to Podsednik.

“He’s just very good at what he does. I’m sure he feels the same way,” Jenks said. “That he can take the last two outings and put them in the book and be ready for tomorrow. You can never doubt yourself when you are a closer. It’s very important. You can’t dwell over the little things or it will be stuck in your head the next time you go out.”

And the 24-year-old Jenks knows his next time could be Tuesday night in Game 3. Guillen might walk out of the dugout and spread his arms, signaling for the big guy in the bullpen, a rather humorous reference to Jenks’ girth.

“He’s a fat kid. He doesn’t deny it,” Guillen said with a laugh Monday.

Jenks doesn’t mind the jokes, as long as Guillen keeps calling him to come in.

“It’s nice,” Jenks said. “No matter what happens, he’ll throw you back out there.”

AP-ES-10-24-05 1908EDT


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