Sammy Sosa Returns to Chicago, Rangers Face Sox Print
Written by TheSpread   
Tuesday, 17 April 2007 02:46
MLB Headline News

Sammy Sosa is Back

Sammy Sosa is finally back in the town from which he made an ignominious exit.

Sosa returns to Chicago for the first time in 2 1/2 years Tuesday night when the Texas Rangers visit the White Sox in the opener of a three-game set.

 

Oddsmakers have made Chicago -1.5 point spread favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (View MLB Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 82% of bets for this game have been placed on Chicago -1.5 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Sosa has not played in Chicago since his 13-year career with the Cubs ended in ugly fashion at the end of the 2004 season. The Cubs were eliminated from playoff contention on the next-to-last day of the season with an 8-6 home loss to Atlanta on Oct. 2. Sosa went 2-for-4 with his 35th homer of the season in what turned out to be his last game as a Cub.

The slugger - once one of Chicago's most popular athletes - became a symbol of the Cubs' late collapse that season as he batted .227 (20-for-88) with six homers and 22 strikeouts in his final 24 games. Chicago went 2-7 in its last nine contests, a year after its infamous meltdown in the 2003 NL championship series against Florida.

Things got even worse on the last day of the 2004 season for Sosa, who was not in the lineup and reported late to Wrigley Field before leaving the park before the game ended. He claimed he left in the seventh inning, but the Cubs used footage from a security camera to determine he departed in the first inning.

One of Sosa's Cubs teammates smashed his stereo after the game, others demanded an apology and Sosa was eventually fined by his club. He was traded in the offseason to Baltimore, and batted .221 in 102 games in 2005. He missed the team's trip to Chicago from May 12-15 of that season because he was on the disabled list.

The 38-year-old Sosa has also endured scrutiny over the steroids controversy in baseball since leaving Chicago, and testified before Congress on the matter just before the 2005 season. He sat out 2006 before signing with Texas (5-7) and winning a roster spot after hitting .404 with 15 RBIs in spring training this year.

It hasn't translated to the regular season, as Sosa is hitting .175 (7-for-40) with two homers and seven RBIs in 10 games. He's fifth on the all-time list with 590 homers.

While Sosa won't be back at Wrigley Field this week, he began his career with the White Sox and played for them from 1989-91. He's batting just .244 with three homers and 13 RBIs in 21 games as a visiting player at U.S. Cellular Field.

The Rangers and White Sox (5-6) are off to slow starts for different reasons. Texas has been victimized by its poor pitching, which has posted a 5.07 ERA.

Chicago, meanwhile, is having trouble scoring runs. The White Sox are batting .222 through 11 games and have managed one run or less in four of their last seven games, including a 2-1 loss at Cleveland on Sunday.

"Right now, we're colder than the weather," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Our bats are cold. We had a couple of chances, but didn't get the big hit."

White Sox sluggers Paul Konerko (.211, one homer) and Jermaine Dye (.235, two homers) haven't been much better than Sosa so far, but they could snap out of their slumps against the Rangers.

Texas gave up 22 runs and 22 hits in losing the last two games of its weekend series at Seattle. Former White Sox starter Brandon McCarthy allowed six runs and six hits in a career-low two innings of a 14-6 loss Sunday.

Robinson Tejeda (1-1, 4.50 ERA) will start Tuesday for Texas after getting roughed up his last time out. Tejeda gave up six runs and 10 hits over five innings in a 6-5 loss to Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

The right-hander has never faced the White Sox.

Guillen will counter with Jon Garland (0-0, 3.65), who pitched seven scoreless innings in a 2-1 loss at Oakland on Tuesday. The right-hander is 4-6 with a 5.49 ERA against the Rangers in 15 appearances, including 14 starts.

Garland, though, pitched well last season against Texas, going 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA in three outings.

by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us

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