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Gameday Thread: White Sox at O's, 07/30

Game Time: 1:35 | TV: WJZ, CSN (CHI) | Radio: WBAL
Javier Vazquez, RH Bruce Chen, LH (9-6, 5.31) (0-6, 7.09)

Chen has been out of the rotation since May 31st, and has pitched...decently, we'll say, in relief. His ERA has gone from 7.71 to 7.09, but what's that saying, really? He had it down as low as 6.64 on July 2, but he's basically been mop-up since then, pitching in 10-3, 13-0, 9-0, 15-1, 5-1 and 13-12 losses, plus a 6-4 win over the Royals last week when he gave up one earned in two thirds of an inning. I like Bruce -- yes, even still -- so I hope he does well today. Frankly I'd rather see him get another shot than continuing to give Rodrigo Lopez starts. At least one of the two of them has been good in the last two years.

Javier Vazquez has really been pretty bad for Chicago, but while their World Series team last year was built on timely hitting accentuating solid pitching, this year's White Sox club has been slugging + pitching that's OK enough to get by, which is why they're 8.5 behind Detroit but still a team that's 20 games over .500. You look at all the problems the Yankees have had, and they're 19 games over .500. You can get by with pitching problems if your team can bop enough to pull out 13-11 wins.

You know what I think the funniest thing about the AL Central is? It's probably the best division in baseball, with Detroit, Chicago and a really good Minnesota team, plus you have Cleveland, which is a decent club even though they're well out of contention. Poor Minnesota -- they finally have a seriously strong team, and they're just screwed for the division and will have to duke it out with the ChiSox, Boston, New York and Toronto for the wild card.