Javier Vazquez: Don’t look at him, look at the ball
If you ask Mike Scioscia, winning back-to-back games in Oakland isn’t that big of a deal. Yet somehow it took an eight-year gap and one World Championship to pass by before the 8-and-28-at-McAfee White Sox could do it twice, which may have had something to do with the proportions of Sunday’s blowout score.
Oakland starter and former South Side lefty prospect Gio Gonzalez (L, 1-2, 3.1IP 6H 8R 5BB 2K) threw 88 pitches in three frames of BP to red-hot Sox bats, giving up seven earned runs and making him think twice about throwing above the belt probably for the rest of his career. Pulled in the third with a 7.52 ERA, Gonzalez left behind a proto-blowout mess that would later claim reliever Dan Meyer, who was optioned to AAA Sacramento after surrendering a grand slam to the Cuban Missile in the 7th. (Not immediately after, although A’s skipper Bob Geren did bring a suitcase to the mound.)
Other Sox risking (but not earning) the late-inning retaliation ire of the Oakland pen were MLB HR leader Carlos Quentin (2-run HR #34 in the 3rd, 2-RBI single), AL HR #2 Jermaine Dye (solo HR, #29) and Juan Uribe (solo HR). Either out of deference to the A’s domination of the Sox for the duration of the Bush administration, or just as a monument to poor control, Carlos Quentin was not hit and ended his HBP streak at 6 games.
Meanwhile, Javier Vazquez’ (W, 10-10 8IP 4H 1R 8K) no-walk, near-complete, near-shutout, 91-pitch star turn signaled what may be the sanest starting strategy available to the Contreras-deprived Ozzie Guillen: with Floyd, Danks and Buehrle, he’s got four aces through September. Take advatage of the lineup power. Work ’em deep. Keep that pen door closed until Scott Linebrink comes back with the burgers Bobby ordered. And best of all, let the Republicans finally smoke some evildoers out of their hole – the Twins upcoming 14-game 15-day road trip is courtesy of the GOP convention. In the AL Central, you’re either with us or against us.