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On the bright side: It should have been a sweep

Last Sunday, the Twins left town with a half game lead on the Wild Card after taking 2 of 3 from the White Sox. Even though they followed up that lackluster performance with a series victory over the Devil Rays, those wins were largely gifts in the form of unearned runs. The winning margin in each game was exactly the same as the number of unearned runs allowed by the Devil Rays. Add that to the gift yesterday from Joey Gathright, and the Sox only victories against the Devil Rays and Royals in the last week have come when the other team puts a bow on it. The Sox aren't even playing as well as their 3-3 record against the bottom feeders of the AL indicates.

The Twins have played just as poorly this week, handing the Sox back the Wild Card lead, but at least 3 of those games were against the best team in baseball. Glancing at the Twins' and Sox remaining schedules, I think the Sox need a 2 or 3 game cushion when they head to the west coast against Anaheim and Oakland. The Sox also have 7 games left against a Cleveland team who suddenly is playing very well, and has always had an offense that should strike fear in the heart of our pitching staff. With the way this club has been playing lately, I don't think they'll have enough to pull this one out.

They were given gift-after-gift this week and picked up only a game in the Wild Card. They should be breathing down the Tigers' back with a comfortable lead on the wild card right now, but instead they've got everyone scoreboard watching thinking they can tread water all the way to the playoffs.

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"I don't think people will have to blame me because I will blame myself. I get paid to win. Is it my responsibility? Yes. Win or lose, it's always the manager's responsibility. I'm the face of the ballclub and I will take the heat." -- Ozzie Guillen
I don't know if Ozzie could have done enough to help the Sox win today, but he did enough late in the game to make sure they lost.

Did you know? Freddy Garcia has allowed less than 3 runs to an AL opponent only three times this season, and just once since May 10th. That's once in 17 starts. Over that same time span, he's allowed 5 or more runs 11 times. Less than 3: 1 time; 5 or more: 11 times!

And this was the guy who Ozzie ran back out there for the 8th inning. Why? Because he's Ozzie's guy, and Ozzie is going to go with the guys he's had all year. When Garcia gave up a 380 foot double off the top of the wall to the leadoff batter in the 8th, he then turned to guess who? Neal Cotts. Cotts, you'll recall, is currently the worst Sox reliever, and has allowed the most inheritted runners to score of anyone on staff. Why did Guillen choose Cotts in that situation? Because he has confidence in Cotts, and he's not going to forget about Neal now that Boone is here.

Like I said, I don't know if the Sox would have pulled this game out had Guillen pushed the right buttons. The point is, he didn't. And since he's welcoming the criticism, I'll continue to bring it.

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For his part, Brandon McCarthy has done nothing but give Ozzie ammunition for his assault on common sense. In each of his last two outings, he's allowed key runs in high leverage situations to put the game out of reach. That being said, and unlike last time, he made some great pitches, but just didn't get the result he was looking for.

I would have had all the confidence in the world in Brandon's ability to get through the 8th unscathed if he was brought in at the beginning of the inning, but with 1-out and men on the corners, he's not being put in a position to succeed. He was the third Sox pitcher of the inning who you could say that about, which tells you just how poorly Ozzie ran that inning.