Ozzie Guillen steps up to handle Pennant Race Pressure

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Ozzie Guillen is not afraid to put the worst case scenario out there. The manager of the Chicago White Sox is well aware of the high quality baseball his team was playing heading into the All Star Break, but also remains astutely aware of how quickly things can turn from good to bad (or in the case of the White Sox, bad to good to bad again).

“We’ve got 70 or so games to go and we might lose all of those games. You never know,” Guillen said prior to their first post All-Star Break game with the AL Central Division rival Minnesota Twins. “But I know we’re gonna play hard, we’re gonna play baseball, and regardless of what happens, I can win with them.”

By Peter Christian

Luckily for Ozzie, the White Sox will definitely not go 0-75 after the All Star Break as they defeated the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night 8-7.

Heading into the break, the Sox were the hottest team in baseball, sporting a 25-5 mark in the 32 days prior. Guillen, the players and the organization are all aware that they can ill afford to simply hope they can ride their mid-summer hot streak to the playoffs and beyond. With tonight’s win, they are still the league’s hottest commodity and have won nine games in a row dating back to before the break.

The White Sox need to continue their elevated play of late, but Guillen also knows that the naysayers are out there and are questioning his relationship with the players and their collective ability to win.

“All those people out there who say I don’t care about my players—they’re wrong. All those people out there who say my players don’t respect me—they’re wrong. All those people who say my team doesn’t like me—they’re right,” Guillen said.

Ozzie, candid as always, isn’t concerned with being well liked. He is concerned with, however, getting the most out of his players and having them play his way.

“They play hard for me,” he said. “I don’t care if they like me or respect me; I just get them to play hard. That’s what I get paid for.”

Guillen and the White Sox’s path towards turning their good play into an AL Central crown continues in Minnesota through the weekend. The team’s chances of accomplishing that goal, however rides on how the team starts every day in the clubhouse, before the team even steps onto the field.

Peter Christian is the author of the Call-Outs and more for The Sports Bank. You can follow Peter on Twitter at http://twitter.com/peterchristian.

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