Saturday, August 19, 2006

Answer: Major League Leader in Road Victories

Question: Who is Jon Garland? White Sox 4, Twins 1.

SOX STANDINGS: 73-49, 5.5 Back of Detroit, 2 Up on Minnesota for the Wild Card. Magic # for the Playoffs: 39.

Garland twirled an outstanding game tonight, going into the 8th while allowing 1 unearned run. Twin counterpart Brad Radke was almost as good, but couldn't pitch over two uncharacteristic errors by his defense - both led to Sox runs, and Rob Mackowiak provides the finishing power with a 420 foot bomb.

It's not just that the Sox got the kind of pitching performance that was automatic in 2005, or that they picked up a game on the Tigers. With Johan Santana matched up against Javy Vazquez tomorrow afternoon, this was a game the Sox
had to have, and they responded that way. Was the game perfect? No, but Garland setting down 14 in a row, a few web gems by Joe Crede, run-scoring production from the bench and bottom of the order, and capitalizing on the Twins mistakes (they don't make many, after all) bode well for the team's confidence.

The Sox now have 40 games left - 7 against the Tigers, 6 against the Twins, 3 against the Red Sox, 3 against the Angels and 3 against the Athletics. In September they'll have to travel to several places that have traditionally been Houses of Horror, particularly the Oakland Coliseum. The starters might be tired - they can rest later. Coffee is for closers, and it's time for the Sox biggest asset to step up their game in a championship setting.

TOMORROW - Javy Vazquez vs. Johan Santana, 1:10 CT.

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