As the spotlight turns from Barry Bonds to Frank Thomas, the Big Hurt returns to the place where he did most of his hurting, before leaving a bit hurt. Given the fact that Thomas homered in his first spring training game (and then didn't do much else for a while), and then homered in his first regular season game (and then didn't do much else for a while), I'm predicting a HR today (and not much else in the series).
Barry Zito, a strong candidate for Pitcher of the Month honors (2-1, 0.65 in May), goes against Jon Garland, who came out of nowhere last year to post 18 wins and a 3.50 ERA, before returning to nowhere so far this season (3-2, 6.18 ERA). Even in winning the World Series in 2005, the White Sox were unable to overcome the A's recent ownership of CWS, dropping 7 of 9 to Oakland last season. Two stats favor the A's tonight: the White Sox are only 7-9 against lefties in 2006, and their starting lineup has a career average of .191 against Barry Zito.
Tonight's starting lineups, with notable matchup-stats included at no extra charge:
Kotsay (3/17 vs. Garland)
Chavez (7/19, 2 HRs, 5 BBs, vs. Garland)
Crosby (5/9, 4 2Bs vs. Garland)
Scutaro (3/5, 2 2Bs vs. Garland)
Ozuna (4/9 vs. Zito)
Thome (1/9 vs. Zito)
Konerko (5/28 vs. Zito)
Uribe (1/10 vs. Zito)