Game Preview: A's vs. White Sox - July 15, 2004

The A's look to jump-start their second half run, as they take on the fortified Chicago White Sox. Rich Harden will square off against Jon Garland in the opener of the four-game set.

Chicago White Sox (46-38) W-4 v. Oakland Athletics (47-39) L-1

Date: July 15, 2004
Time: 7:05 P.S.T.
Place: Network Associates Coliseum – Oakland, CA

Preview: After another 1-5 road trip through Boston and Cleveland, the A's return home tonight to face the Chicago White Sox in the first game of a four-game series. Oakland won the first two meetings between these two teams earlier in the season as both games ended with dramatic, walk-off heroics by the A's. The White Sox are gearing up for a run at the AL Central title as they acquired pitcher Freddy Garcia from Seattle and are expecting outfielder Magglio Ordonez to return to the lineup this week. Ordonez will try to make up for the absence of first baseman Frank Thomas, who was placed on the disabled list last week with left ankle inflammation. Thomas is the only player listed on the disabled list for Chicago, while the A's are going to have to play without Tim Hudson, Billy McMillon, Chris Hammond, Arthur Rhodes, Esteban German, and Mark Ellis.

The first-place White Sox arrive in Oakland with a four-game winning streak that started with a comeback win against Anaheim and continued with a three-game sweep of Seattle. Before their winning streak, Chicago had dropped five in a row including a sweep at the hands of their cross-town rival, the Cubs. Oakland was glad to get a three-day break as they had lost five of their past six games after sweeping Anaheim at home and taking two of three from the Giants in San Francisco, dropping two games behind Texas. The A's looked tired as they finished their series in Cleveland with a 4-1 loss on Sunday, which was highlighted by leaving 11 runners on base and wasting many great opportunities to score. Oakland is a scalding 27-12 at home this year while the White Sox are an average 18-21 on the road.

Pitching Match-up:

Chicago – Jon Garland, RHP (7-5, 4.41 ERA)
Oakland – Rich Harden, RHP (3-5, 4.52 ERA)


Jon Garland: The 24 year-old Garland is a tall (6' 6") right-hander who was drafted 10th overall in the 1997 draft by the Cubs straight out of high school. This is his third year of being an everyday starting pitcher for the White Sox, and he has been very consistent so far by posting a 12-12 record and a 12-13 record prior to being 7-5 this year. He had a 4.58 ERA in 2002, a 4.51 ERA in 2003, and is currently sitting at 4.41. He is 2-2 in his last four starts but has pitched well recently to pick up victories in his last two starts. He went 7 innings at Minnesota and allowed only one run to score to pick up the win in a 2-1 victory and then threw another 7 inning, one run performance to help beat Seattle 6-2. His numbers this year are better on the road and both left-handers and right-handers are hitting around .250 off of him.

Rich Harden: Harden is coming off a nightmare start in Boston where he gave up 7 runs, 7 hits, 6 walks, and 2 homeruns in only five innings. It was his second start since hurting his left shoulder, and he had pitched well against the Giants the game before. In that game, he went six strong innings and gave up only 2 hits and 2 runs, but walked 4 batters. Harden has not won a game in over a month (since June 9th in a 17-8 win) and seems to get in trouble when he starts walking hitters. He ranks 5th in the AL in walks with 48 and his ERA skyrocketed from 4.05 to 4.52 after the Boston game. With Zito struggling, Hudson on the DL, and Redman being inconsistent, the A's would like to see Harden start Oakland on one of their patented second-half runs with a strong performance tonight.

Pitcher-Batter Match-up:

Harden v.:
Alomar, S – 0 for 2 – 1 K
Crede, J – 0 for 2
Davis, B – 1 for 3
Konerko, P – 0 for 2 – 1 K
Lee, C – 1 for 3 – 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 K
Ordonez, M – 2 for 3 – 1 K
Valentin, J – 0 for 2 – 2 K

Garland v.:
Hatteberg, S – 5 for 11 (.455) – 1 HR, 5 RBI
Dye, J – 1 for 7 (.143)– 1 HR, 1 RBI
Durazo, E – 1 for 9 (.111) – 3 K
Karros, E – 0 for 3 – 1 K
Miller, D – 1 for 2
Kotsay, M – 1 for 4
Kielty, B – 2 for 14 (.143) – 2 HR, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 5 K
Chavez, E – 4 for 9 (.444) – 1 HR, 1 RBI
Byrnes, E – 2 for 4 – 1 2B
McLemore, M – 4 for 9 (.444) – 2 RBI, 1 SB, 1 CS

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