Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Manny Taketh Away; Manny Giveth

One day after his maddening (non) play in the outfield in Seattle, Manny Ramirez showed why we overlook these things, smashing a three-run homer in the third to give the Sox and Josh Beckett a comfy 4-0 lead over the A's in Oakland. The Sox went on to win, 7-3, behind Beckett (now 13-5) and additional homers from Papi and Alex Gonzalez. The bullpen also did its job well, with good outings from Craig Hansen, Mike Timlin, and Jonny Papelbon.

The Spanks beat Texas earlier in the day, 6-2, so the lead stays at 2 1/2 games. We have to start talking about the Blue Jays, too, who lost to Seattle 7-3 last night. AL wild card standings this morning look like this:

1. White Sox --
2. Yankees 1.5
3. Minnesota 2
4. Toronto 4.5
5. LA Angels 8.5
6. Oakland 8.5
7. Texas 9

The White Sox have struggled in a big way since the break, but yesterday signed KC closer Mike McDougal and are reportedly close to adding the mercurial but insanely talented Alfonso Soriano. By contrast, the Twins have been on an absolute tear (9-1 in their last 10) behind their twin aces (Santana and Liriano) and the M&M boys (Morneau and Mauer). The AL Central battle is going to be a bloodbath. The Angels and A's are tied in the weak AL West.

Curt Schilling tries to match Beckett with lucky win #13 tonight in Oakland vs. Jason Windsor. Mike Mussina goes against Adam Eaton in Texas.

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