Earlier this week Ozzie Guillen, with his first in the AL Central Chicago White Sox beginning a crucial three game series against the second place Minnesota Twins, had this to say about the how successful his pitcher Javier Vazquez has been in big games: "He hasn't."
The vote of non-confidence from Ozzie Guillen was prescient, mainly because the Twins know where to look for hurlers who can come through in the clutch. On that first game of the series, Twins' manager Ron Gardenhire (an Okmulgee native) handed the ball to former Oklahoma State pitcher Scott Baker. Baker responded with seven strong innings where he allowed only one run. Minnesota won the game 9-3 (poor Vazquez was shelled), and the Twins closed to within a game and a half of Chicago.
On night two, Chicago sent out their ace, Mark Buehrle. Gardenhire sent out his number five starter, Nick Blackburn. Blackburn is a rookie with a a .500 record on the season, and an ERA greater than four. Fortunately for Minnesota, he's also an Ada native which apparently means he has gonads the size of Barry Bonds' steroid inflated head. The overmatched righty managed a respectable five innings where he managed to work out of trouble to allow only two runs. He left the game with his team holding a 3-2 lead that turned out to be the final score.
The Twins are now less than full game behind the Sox in the standings in what could be the most interesting pennant race of the final weekend of the season. Should they pull of the comeback, our state can take some of the credit.