Chicago (54-25) at Oakland (39-41)

  • Game info: 4:05 pm EDT Sun Jul 3, 2005
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Barry Zito is a former AL Cy Young Award winner. The way Mark Buehrle is pitching, he may join him on that prestigious list.

Two of the league’s top left-handers square off when Buehrle and the Chicago White Sox meet Zito and the Oakland Athletics in the rubber game of a weekend series.

Zito, the 2002 Cy Young winner, is 76-48 with a 3.49 ERA in his career while Buehrle is 79-46 with a 3.61 ERA. Both started their careers in 2000.

While Zito is just 29-31 since winning the Cy Young, Buehrle is headed in the other direction with a 40-25 mark during that span. Buehrle is 9-0 with a 2.34 ERA over his last 14 starts since suffering his lone loss of the season at Minnesota on April 10.

Over his last four starts, Buehrle is 3-0 with an 0.29 ERA. He allowed one run and eight hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 2-1 win at Detroit on Tuesday.

“This wasn’t one of my better ones,” Buehrle said. “I got lucky today.”

Though the performance wasn’t up to his lofty standards, Buehrle extended his streak of pitching at least six innings to 44 outings—four shy of the club record set by Jack McDowell from July 4, 1992 to Sept. 6, 1993.

“Buehrle struggled, but he knows how to come out of games like that,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. “He just goes in there and does his job.”

Zito is enduring one of his worst seasons after going 11-11 with a career-high 4.48 ERA in 2004. The 27-year-old southpaw is showing signs of turning it around, however, going 3-2 with a 3.05 ERA over his last six starts.

He is 5-2 with a 3.57 ERA in eight career starts against the White Sox. Zito lost to Chicago on April 25, giving up four runs and seven hits over 6 2-3 innings in a 6-0 defeat.

Chicago snapped Oakland’s eight-game winning streak with a 5-3 victory Saturday. Jon Garland pitched seven strong innings to become baseball’s first 13-game winner and Joe Crede snapped a tie with a solo homer in the seventh.

The win gives Chicago a chance to capture a road series against an AL West Division opponent for the first time since winning two of three from the A’s from Aug. 28-30, 2000. The White Sox are 14-47 at Oakland, Seattle and Anaheim since the start of the 2001 season.

“Maybe when we come here, the time change and different hours makes a difference,” Guillen said. “You never know. The numbers may be skewed somehow. In the past, they had Zito, (Tim) Hudson and (Mark) Mulder, but now they still have a good pitching staff. Anything I say is going to be an excuse.”

Oakland’s Kirk Saarloos allowed four runs and seven hits over seven innings Saturday to suffer the first loss by an A’s starter in 13 outings. Saarloos was the first starter to lose for the Oakland since Zito fell to Philadelphia on June 17.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Buehrle TOR vs. B. Zito OAK
16-8 Record 14-13
3.12 ERA 3.86
149 K 171
40 BB 89
1.18 WHIP 1.20