9/18: Kirk Saarloos (9-7, 3.89) vs. Matt Clement (13-5, 4.33)

Hello, Firebrand of the American League readers. I’m Andrew; you may know me from such unpopular arguments as ‘A-Rod should be the MVP’, and ‘Don’t trade Manny!’ (Latter unpopular only until July 31st). You may also know me from my blog, 12eight, but chances are you don’t. Regardless of whether and how you know me, Evan has kindly extended the title of Contributing Authorship my way, so you’ll be hearing from me quite a bit more, especially via these game threads.
Have we had two better, more exciting games back to back all year than the last two vs. the Oakland Athletics? After an ugly and forgettable loss to the A’s surprising young ace Joe Blanton on Friday, the Sox have battled to two close victories, riding two fantastic pitching performances from Tim Wakefield (9 innings, 7 hits, 2 runs, 3 K’s) and Bronson Arroyo (7 innings, 3 hits, 3 walks, 1 run, 2 K’s, perfect through 4). Each game has been an offensive struggle, however, as Sox bats drag from 26 straight days of baseball.
Today, Matt Clement faces off Kirk Saarloos. Saarloos, as you might recall, pitched two excellent games against us within the span of a single week in May, going a combined 11 innings while allowing only 3 runs. Nor were those games flukes; his 3.89 ERA would be good enough for 18th in the AL, if he had enough innings to qualify. The A’s have, to this point, forced us to play their game – pitching, pitching, and scoring on HBP’s. Can we break out today with our game, or will the fatigue continue to eat away at our MLB-best offense?
Saarloos vs. Clement, first pitch at 2:05pm, EDT.

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