Tuesday, June 9, 2009

That Game Wasn't Real Was It

What a ridiculous game that was. I had a full list of thoughts that were going to be written down here about how angry I am and how this team is really bothering me. Then the Konerko hit happened, those thoughts disappeared. Seconds later Jim Joyce put his Tiger hat on for a few seconds and single-handedly blew the game for the Sox. Then Linebrink forgot to concentrate on Cabrera. And POOF all of the thoughts are back. So here are many of those thoughts.

First things first. I am really getting ticked off at the creativity of this team in regards to how they are losing games. Whether it's not being able to hit, not being able to pitch, making errors in terrible situations, walking 8 batters to a good hitting team, or pitching around the wrong guy to allow a career .300 plus hitter to beat you in a huge spot. Pick one way to lose and stick to it so Kenny can go address the issue and fix the problem. It's like a pipe that every time you patch a hole another one shows up. Maybe we need to fix the whole pipe? (I'm against that right now, but I'm starting to think I need to lean that way)

Let's concentrate on the managing of this particular game. Ozzie made 2 critical mistakes that ended up not costing the game, but would have if not for Konerko's semi-heroics (though it wasn't his fault, or Wise's fault, or Cox's fault for them not being real heroics). The first huge mistake was to pitch around Granderson to get to Polanco. I know it was righty/righty and he was 1 for 9 off Dotel, but you are seriously going to tell me you would rather face the best contact hitter on the team (possibly in the league) than a semi-power hitter, who strikes out quite a bit? I'd say your nuts. and I actually said it before the double (then I threw a chair at a cat as the ball was in the air). Bad decision making there. You cannot go on numbers alone, you must look at the players involved. Contact hitter vs. strikeout pitcher is not a good combo for the pitcher. Next is the pinch hit in the 8th. Nix is in the game and you insert Getz to pinch hit? WHY? What does that bring? A left handed bat, sure, but a left handed bat that hits .250 overall and a whopping .236 against righties. I don't know who he could have gone to rather than Nix, but that was a spot where the Sox needed a HR, and Getz is just not that guy. I don't know why not just leave Nix in. There is absolutely no benefit offensively to have Getz vs. a righty than Nix vs. the same guy. Poor managing that should have cost the game, but Fernando Rodney didn't feel like going home yet, so Oz got off the hook a little.

Now on to the play at the plate. If Jim Joyce wants to come out and admit he's wrong then I take back much of what I say here. But I cannot for the life of me figure out how he missed that call. His face was literally about 3 feet from the play. He was staring directly at the plate and at the ball. His positioning seemed good to me (I'm not a pro umpire, so I'm not positive), he could see the ball, he could see the plate, he could see the tag. Somehow he missed the call. I don't know if he blinked or what happened, but he was wrong and it cost the Sox a huge game and possibly a season changing win. One other thing to address on that call. I don't think he meant to call him safe. I'm pretty sure Wise fell into him and he was catching his balance. so I don't buy they argument that he changed his mind, I think he just plain missed the call. (Let me know what you think on that if you saw it)

That brings me to the question of whether it was the correct call to send him or not. To me it was. The first reason is a real simple one... he was safe. Second reason is because the game needed to be won on that hit. The second he hit that ball everyone in the park thought the game was over. Adrenaline is a huge part of baseball, and holding him up would have been a gigantic buzz-kill. Make them make two perfect throws and apply a perfect tag (which they did about 99% correctly, just the tag was a fraction of a second late). Finally you can't leave a runner on third with 1 out for this team. All season long the fundamentals of this team have been atrocious. The first inning was another example, and I think that's like the 3rd or 4th one in the past week that was failed in the first innings alone. This team has ZERO concept of getting runners in from third. NONE. There is no way I trust anyone on this team to bring that runner in, so I would have sent him even if I knew the play wasn't going to be even that close with perfect throws. Push the envelope, make them make a great play, and hope the umpire doesn't blow the call.

Lastly, I want to talk about two hitters. First is Brian Anderson. I was unable to get to it yesterday, and his home run today kind of hurts my argument, but that guy is a joke. On the whole he is a bad hitter, against righties he's atrocious. He is serviceable at best against lefties. I've made my point clear that this guy should not be getting starts let alone be in the majors, but it got me to thinking about Carlos and the difference he makes. Think of a lineup with a healthy Carlos in left and Podsednik in center. The difference is vast, and the difference is part of the reason why I'm saying don't give up yet. I'm planning on writing a whole post about it later, just today is a bad night after that loss.
The second guy is Beckham. I put on this blog that we need to give him time. And I stuck by it after 0 for 3, 0 for 6, 0 for 9, 0 for 12. He's now 1 for 17 (.059 AVG). I think we may be going to far now. Fields has not been great, and I'm all for trying to develop Beckham as quickly as possible, but come on. I'm not giving up on him, I see the talent, I just don't think now is the time. I'm not ready to pack it in for the year, and because of that, I'm not sure there should be projects on a team trying to compete. Send him back down and let him grow. 1 for 17 is bad enough, but I hit my tipping point when he came up with the winning run on in the 9th. I realized that if someone else was in that spot the game could have been won, with Beckham the inning was over after three pitches that he lunged at. It's just not time yet, I'm sorry.

All in all, today was incredibly heartbreaking. I saw a team go down the drain, then resurrect a season, then throw it right back down that same drain in a span of about 45 minutes. I really just don't know where to go from here. All I do know is that the next two games are basically must wins, and I'm just not sure it's going to happen. It's June 9th, the season's not over, but we got some issues that need to be figured out quickly, and I don't know where the fix is coming from.

(No cats were harmed in the writing of this post nor during the game itself.)


  1. You can take my comments with a grain of salt since I'm a Tigers fan.

    You're right on the call. He was definitley safe and I was surprised he missed it because he was in the best position to make that call. I also think he was just avoiding the runner and not changing his mind about the call.

    Sending the runner was the right decision. Like you said, you have to force the defense to make a great play in that situation and I think 5 or 6 times out of 10 one of those throws is off and he's safe by a mile.

    Lastly, I don't know if they really meant to pitch around Granderson. I think Dotel just fell behind him and with the count 3-1, there was no need to groove it with the bases loaded. Maybe my mind is off, but wasn't the count 2-1 at one point? If Doetel can throw a strike, it's 2-2 and you're in business. Or if he throws a strike to start, then Granderson will definitely swing at bad pitches.

    But I might be remembering that at bat differently. Solid post though.

  2. I only saw the bottom of the ninth until the end of the game, but I can agree that it was a horsecrap call.

    I would suggest giving Beckham time. He wasn't going to come up and light the league on fire, but long term I would still bet on him being good. In the list of Beckham, Fields, Getz, and Lillebridge? You have to pick two guys to commit to long-term (hypothetically of course) Beckham is one of those two, let him work through his struggles.

  3. HJ - Thanks for the comment. As far as pitching around Granderson, the way I saw it that way was because Ozzie came out and talked to Dotel before the AB. I think it was 4 straight but you could be right on it being 2-1 at a point. I can't see Ozzie going out there to tell Dotel to go right after Granderson and then Dotel walking him on 4/5 pitches. I know Dotel can be a little wild, but I think after he struck the last guy out that he would be able to throw strikes when he needed to.

    Thanks for reading.

  4. I agree with you about pitching around Granderson. I thought when Ozzie came out he was going to bring Thornton in. Dotel seemed to be pitching alright and I think he should have just gone after Granderson instead of working around him.

    The Nix/Getz thing doesn't bother me. Both are bad in their own right.