88 pitches thus far for Oakland’s Barry Zito, having a relatively easy time with the Mariners through 6 innings. Now that Zito seems to have his act together, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not the A’s resist overtures from either Boston or New York as the trade deadline looms.

The M’s Adrian Beltre looks overmatched, anxious and lost at the plate, not necessarily in that order.

(UPDATE : goddamn, without Dotel or Street, this A’s bullpen is a mess. Apologies to Oakland for jinxing what looked like a sure thing. Also, there’s no better name in MLB, nor excuse to have a jersey custom-made, than Seattle’s J.J. Putz.)

Theres is a really annoying commercial for every team that Fox holds cable rights to ; angry fans conduct a 10 or 11 throw relay to toss an opposing home run back onto the field playing (seemingly few several miles off).. After you’ve seen the ad with 7 or 8 different clubs being the subject of this lame promotion, it all begins to make sense. Local teams, their fans, the logos, the stadia, the kooky customs, etc. It’s all interchangable when you’re watching baseball on Fox. Even the most inane bits of partisan behavior are reduced to empty gestures being played out by clones across the country. Which makes it doubly disturbing that Will Oldham (or a man who looks very much like him) is shown firing a baseball from the back of a garbage truck.

The Indians’ Bob Wickman has openly admitted to having to fill the bases on a regular basis in order to get 3 outs. An intriguing strategy to be certain, one that failed to pay dividends for Cleveland in their 5-4 loss to Boston earlier this evening. John Olerud 3 for 4, including a solo HR, his first of 2005, off starter Cliff Lee in the 7th inning. After winning 9 straight, the Tribe has dropped 3 in a row to the Red Sox (currently just a game back of first place Baltimore).

Congratulations to the University Of Texas baseball team on advancing to the best-of-three final to determine the College World Series champions Actually, none of them read this thing, so congratulations to anyone who had money on UT this evening. After going 0-3 against Baylor in the regular season, and then being knocked out of the Big 12 Tournament by the Waco 9, Texas beat the Bears twice in the past 3 days, today’s 4-3 win sealed with Chance Wheeless’ walk off HR in the bottom of the 9th. Texas will face the winner of tomorrow’s Arizona State/Florida game for the chance to win their 6th national title (their 2 in the past 4 years).