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Oakland Shows Its Mojo Against ChiSox — The Many Faces of Ozzie Guillen

Ozzie Guillen was content coming into the Oakland series…

The Chicago White Sox arrived in Oakland on Friday knowing they needed to play well, and preferably win the series against the Athletics.  They came out of Friday’s 4-2 loss trying to make improvements and come back with two good games over the weekend.  When Oakland took Saturday’s game 7-4, the ChiSox were frustrated, but felt they could salvage the series on Sunday afternoon with Jose Contreras on the mound.  Frank Thomas ended those hopes, boosting the A’s to a 5-4 victory, increasing their playoff chances, while destroying those of the White Sox. 

He was angry, frustrated, and dispirited coming out of it…

As I mentioned, the A’s took game 1 of the series by a 3-2 final, led by another solid outing by Esteban Loaiza, who earned his 10th win in the victory.  Jon Garland lost just his 5th game this season, dropping his record to 17-5 (undeservingly great because of Garland’s 4.30ERA).  Huston Street earned his 33rd save for Oakland, whose offense was led by Marco Scutaro’s 4 hits.  Oakland maintained its AL West lead, while the White Sox didn’t lose any ground in the Wildcard, because the Twins also lost.

Game 2 was quite different from Game 1; it was decided by the bats, not the arms.  Barry Zito was all over the place, though he did last 7 innings, allowing just 4 runs — I say “just” because he walked 7 batters.  Javier Vazquez allowed 3 runs in 6 innings of work; two of those came on Frank Thomas’ 37th Homerun of the season.  The White Sox were defeated because of shoddy relief from the usually reliable Matt Thornton and Mike MacDougal.  The A’s bullpen, on the other hand, held the ChiSox scoreless, with Huston Street earning save #34 of the season.  Frank Thomas’ 4RBIs allowed the A’s to gain a game on Anaheim, and set the White Sox back a game, due to the Twins beating the Indians. 

Knowing they needed to win the finale of the series, the White Sox sent Jose Contreras to the mound to face Joe Blanton.  Blanton pitched well, allowing 2 runs in 5 innings of work, and earning his 16th victory in the process.  The same could not be said of Contreras, who allowed 5 runs in 6 innings, and suffered his 8th loss of the year.  Frank Thomas’ 38th Homerun, a 3-run shot in the 4th inning, propelled the A’s to a 5-4 win.  The A’s padded their AL to 7 (Magic Number 7), while the White Sox dropped another game in the Wildcard race, and are now 4 back of the Twins.

That’s great news for Ken Macha and the A’s, who play the Angels 7 times in their last 10 games, including a 4-game series at Anaheim to finish the season.  They now need to win just 4 of those games — that number could decrease if the A’s continue winning and the Angels continue losing — to clinch the AL West crown.  For the White Sox, on the other hand … Ozzie Guillen’s look (see above photo) said it all.  Four games back of Minnesota with the Tigers (who need to win to keep the AL Central crown with Minnesota just a game back), Mariners (with nothing to lose … can you say spoiler?), Indians (just like Seattle, only they want revenge for losing the division last year), and Minnesota (this series could decide it) left on their schedule. 

Somewhere, these two men are smiling…

  

       Frank Thomas                                     Jay Mariotti

while this man…

faces a long flight home.

_______________________________________________________________________

Trivia Time!

Yesterday’s Question…

On June 13, 2006, Jason Isringhausen recorded his 161st save as a Cardinal, making him St. Louis’ career saves leader.  Which former Cardinals’ closer did he pass?

And the answer…

Lee Smith.  The “intimidating” (6ft-6inch) closer saved 160 games for St. Louis on his way to an MLB-best 478. 

Here’s today’s question…

Which White Sox starting pitcher earned a save in Game 3 of the 2005 World Series?

You can answer the question by posting a comment, and you’ll find the correct answer at the end of my next post

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