Today is mainly about individual pitchers and whether they can come through after some struggles. Otherwise, the Tigers host a big game against the upwardly mobile Twins. Oh, in case you are wondering, the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets are off today.
|Kelvim Escobar, RHP (7-9, 3.77)
|@ 7:05||Mark Buehrle, LHP (9-9, 4.74)
White Sox (65-44)
Poor Mark Buehrle has not been receiving the famed White Sox run support. When I saw him at Yankee Stadium, I was disappointed to see lackluster fielding behind him too. It was just careless enough not to count on, not conspicuous enough to let Buehrle off the hook with errors. What is this about? Is it still going on? Did the silliness between him and manager Ozzie Guillen about wanting to pitch for his childhood favorite Cardinals reflect a deeper tension running through his relationship with the club?
|Jeff Weaver, RHP (4-12, 6.71)
|@ 7:10||Elizardo Ramirez, RHP (4-7, 4.47)
Somebody’s slump has to end tonight. The red birds and red legs are separated by 3.5 games going into the game, and the first place Cardinals have been on a losing streak matching poor Jeff Weaver’s himself.
|Edinson Volquez, RHP (0-0, -.–)
|Esteban Loaiza, RHP (4-7, 6.50)
First place Oakland will lean on Esteban Loaiza to shut down the Texas batting order, which is the kind of threatening that provokes bad dreams. Gary Matthews–.321 Hank Blalock–2.83 Mark Texeira–.281 Mark DeRosa–.322 Michael Young–.303 Ian Kinsler–.303 Carlos Lee .283. Etc. Why they traded pitching to get another hitter in Carlos Lee I do not understand. Anyway, Loaiza has a sizable task without a reassuring record to remind him of his abilities. With an injury early in the season, spurts of strong starts, and periods of alternating wins and losses, Loaiza and the A’s will have the best chance at winning if Manager Ken Macha does not leave him in past the 5th inning, a la Jaret Wright, unless he is pitching "lights out." If he starts letting one or two on base, pull him. Do not wait for him to pitch himself out of trouble from the 6th inning onward in there are adequate bullpen arms available. His last start was successful, but you would never know it. Two earned runs. No decision. At least the organization is being patient with him. Good thing he doesn’t work for the Yankees. Anymore, that is. I do miss him. He was happiest with the White Sox, though. Sigh. No drunk driving citations in Chicago, I would guess.