Some may point to the fact that Jake Peavy was off of his game last night, giving up five runs, six hits, a pair of walks and a crucial two-out, two-RBI single to journeyman catcher Matt Treanor in six innings of work.
But the truth is that it was the offense that has to bear the bulk of responsibility for last night’s 5-3 loss to the Royals. It wasn’t about getting on base, but rather the season-long problem of clutch hitting. The Sox collected 13 hits and a pair of walks, but stranded 13 runners. The math is simple: if just three of those runners had crossed home plate, the loss would have been a victory.
As Ozzie said after the game, “We’re so unpredictable…We struggle with people on base, and like I preach, we have to get better than that. We need big hits…”
Paul Konerko again was the center of the offense, going 3 for 5 with a homer and two RBIs. And A.J. Pierzynski (3), Omar Vizquel (2), Juan Pierre (2) and Carlos Quentin (2) had multiple hit games, but only Quentin drove in a run. With Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez out of the lineup, Adam Dunn, Brent Lillibridge and Gordon Beckham went 0 for 13 with seven strikeouts.
Remember what Ozzie said: “We have to get better than that.”
Ozzie put it best when he said he didn’t know if the Sox “played very good or not that good” in last night’s 9-5, 14-inning loss to the sizzling Washington Nationals.
Comebacks in the ninth (Mark Teahen‘s three-run homer tied the game at three), 10th (a bases loaded wild pitch that evened the score at five) and the 12th (a two-out, two strike homer by A.J. Pierzynski to make it 5-5), showed that the Sox had some grit. The kind of ability to come back that we’ve rarely seen so far this season.
On the other hand, we witnessed some negatives that proved to be fatal. There were multiple missed opportunities with men in scoring position, including the failure to score the winner with the bags full and one out in the 10th. And there was the crucial throwing error by Alexei Ramirez that Teahen couldn’t handle at first (pictured above), which opened the door to four unearned runs in the 14th.
All in all, good or bad?
Bad, of course, because we lost and blew the chance to reduce Cleveland’s division lead to 3 1/2 games. That said, there was a silver lining with the impressive three comebacks and the fact the Indians, Tigers, Twins and Royals all lost.
Keeping it positive, remember this: The Sox have won all three interleague series–against the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Cubs–but have dropped the series opener in each case.
When you don’t have the answers, pull out the cliches:
- You can’t win when you don’t score.
- You’re not as bad as you look when you’re losing and not as good as you look when you’re winning.
- A team that’s not hitting looks more lethargic than it really is.
I don’t know what else to say. This White Sox team of the “All In” expectations entering this season has become a conundrum wrapped up in an enigma. From day to day you never know what team is going to show up.
The biggest issue, of course, has been the offense–an offense that seemed destined to break out on a daily basis. They have been a far cry from what we expected. You only have to look at the last three games, the first three of the road trip. Losing each contest, the South Siders scored one run in the two games against the Twins and scored just a single run last night against ex-Sox Daniel Hudson in the 4-1 loss to the surging D-backs. Surprise, it was a Paul Konerko homer.
Sox Notes of Note: Ozzie insists that Juan Pierre will remain in the leadoff spot and left field despite the pressure to recall Dayan Viciedo and move Carlos Quentin to left. Guillen also added “as long as he’s here.” I wonder if that was a throw away line or a Freudian slip–and there’s some movement behind the scenes to move Juan…While Pierre’s job is safe right now, Brent Lillibridge will be in the leadoff spot and in left field today against Arizona lefty Zach Duke. Brent Morel will be in the No. 2 hole, Alexei Ramirez will bat fifth and Ramon Castro will be behind the plate.
Peavy will do what it takes
There is no “i” in team and apparently no “i” in Jake Peavy. Before last night’s postponement, the Sox injury-plagued righthander said the following about his pending return from the DL:
“We’re sitting here talking about me coming back, and I’m telling Don Cooper and these guys, ‘I’ll do whatever needs to be done.'” If I need to go to the bullpen and help out there, we have five starters doing their thing. I certainly think I can be a leader in the rotation as well and be as good as these guys have been. But I’ll do whatever it takes because there is no weak link right now on this team. We’re swinging the bat offensively. We’re starting to catch the ball and play fundamentally a lot better than we did early in the year.”
What do KW and Ozzie think? Word is that they think it’s too early to make the call.
You knew someone would bring it up and who better than Ozzie?
After all those years playing in what was a house of horrors for the White Sox, the skipper put it all in perspective:
“Where’s the Metrodome when you need it?” Ozzie, of course was referring to the fact that last night’s game wouldn’t have been called if the Twins still played indoors.
Finally, something positive for the Sox to say about the Twinkiedome.
Here and there…
No makeup date has been determined for the rainout…Gavin Floyd and Carl Pavano will still be the starters…Jesse Crain, an important Twins contributor for several years, is making his first trip back to his former baseball home since joining the Sox…Ozzie on Brent Lillibridge: “Can he show us he can play every day? Well, that would be nice. If you can produce very day, I’ll get you the shot. But, right now, we have to wait and see”…KW on Dayan Viciedo: “It would be awfully interesting to have him in this lineup. He’s ready. He’s obviously got some things he still needs to work on, but I would have no qualms about bringing him here.”
For those of you who are regular readers of this blog, you’re well aware that I’m a huge fan of Ozzie‘s.
First and foremost, he’s one of us. In a world where the White Sox have little identity outside of the South Side and nearby environs, he gives us a torch bearer. If baseball fans know anything about the team, it’s Ozzie. He’s put us on the map.
Second, he is hilarious. His off-the-cuff remarks on a daily basis bring some much-needed humor into the ups and downs of the long season. Finally, and this is something that is the least publicized about him, Ozzie is a very good manager. Underrated because his theatrics take center stage, but very good nonetheless.
All that said, our skipper does have an Achilles Heel and it surfaced again in Toronto as the South Siders dropped the final three games of the four-game series against the Jays.
It wasn’t that Ozzie ripped his players after the 14-inning loss on Saturday. I’m glad he did, they deserved it. What I find tiresome is that every time the Sox are in the throes of losing and criticism from the fans and media come his way, Guillen goes into unintelligible, defensive tirades. He’ll criticize the criticism, say or imply he’s not appreciated, question fan loyalty and make the point that he doesn’t need the job because he has plenty of money, etc. In the current episode, he tweeted Sunday that the media misrepresented his remarks, but there was enough on the record to believe the initial reports.
I understand that this is Ozzie’s way of releasing the frustration that all of us feel, but it’s getting old. Blaming the outside influences like the fans and media is not the answer. At least when he criticizes player performance, he’s focusing on the individuals responsible. After all, they’re the ones who have compiled the 24-31 record and stand 9 1/2 games behind the first place Tribe.
While we may not like it, we all know that this is Ozzie’s way and it’s not going to change as long as he’s at the helm of the Sox. Let’s just hope this season of ugliness doesn’t get any uglier.