So I guess when Jake Peavy said that the team "had to win this series", as in win 2 out of 3 games, he was really putting the onus on John Danks and Mark Buehrle, because he certainly had no plans of winning this game. After looking like the stud we're paying 15 million dollars this season in two starts. Peavy struggled through a win in Kansas City gifted to him by a rare offensive rally, and now has gone back to being indistinguishable from Gavin Floyd in every way except demeanor (drunk and angry as opposed to morose and inconsolable). Jake and the Fat Man had another 6-run start Tuesday night, which included two of the most emphatic home runs I have ever seen. Unless you saw this game, you wouldn't think that wood hitting leather could recreate the sound of a gunshot.
Not to say that the offense should be let off the hook for getting completely shut down by the Mitch Talbots of the world, but goodness, after the abused and deformed kitten you brought home from the pound poops on your favorite tie, then falls asleep in it for the 26th time, do you still keep getting mad?
Content to be the most annoying and trite ballpark experience in the major leagues, Cleveland decided to shoot off fireworks after every single half-inning tonight. This led to the second most humorous point of the game, where after the first inning Jake was startled by the inexplicable explosions occurring behind him (The most humorous moment was when Steve Stone remarked on the 400-plus sellout streak Cleveland had in the mid-90's and Hawk derisively responded "It'll be a long time before that happens again."). Yet even these fireworks paled in comparison to the loud crack that was made when Jason Donald crushed an 0-1 Peavy delivery into left field. As it cleared the wall, the ball appeared to still be traveling upward as it hit the seats. As impressive of a home run as this was, what stood out most to me was that this was Donald's first home run of his entire career!
Now, it was only his 25th career at bat, but this might go down as the hardest hit ball the young man has in his entire life. For a man being paid 15 million dollars to throw baseballs in a way so that they cannot be hit, Jake tends to have a lot of pitches he throws hit very, very hard. He's given up 10 home runs already on the season, putting him on pace to allow 36 on the season.
Let me do my best to scare you; in his Cy Young-winning 2007 season, Jake gave up 13 HRs all season. He's currently allowing 1.4 HRs per 9 innings. The last time he even averaged as much as 1 HR per 9 innings was the 2006 season where he went 11-14 with a 4.09 ERA for a San Diego team that struggled to score. That Padres team averaged 4.34 runs per game in Peavy starts, while the 2010 White Sox average 4.16 runs per game. When Peavy won the Cy Young, the Padres averaged 5.28 runs in support, and he only allowed 0.5 HRs per 9 innings. Finally, the last time Jake averaged this many home runs allowed and had a WHIP over 1.3 like he has now, he was 22 years old and went 12-11 with a 4.11 ERA for a team that gave him 4.09 runs of support a game, and he gave up 33 home runs. So the next time Jake Peavy lets Shin-Soo Choo clock a ball into the centerfield bleachers like a golf ball, know that it's not just him working out early season kinks anymore, but instead that we're trending heavily toward a very mediocre year for Jake Peavy.
And certainly not one worth 15 million dollars!!!
Clayton Richard, the guy we traded for Peavy is 4-2 with a 2.73 ERA at present. But on the bright side, his WHIP hasn't dropped very drastically, it's actually worse than Peavy's. He's just profiting off the fact that his HR rate has fallen off a cliff, probably because he moved from one of the best hitter's parks to a stadium that might very well be the worst.
Moving along to the aforementioned kitten. Carlos went 1-4 tonight with a long double, so maybe referring to him as that horribly traumatized and socially ruined kitten is unfairly ignoring how awful Ramon Castro is, but whenever your offensive MVP from two years ago is hitting .217, isn't someone you can justify playing over Mark Kotsay, and doesn't have an excuse like 'the league is forcing him to hit with a golf club' or 'he drove his motorcycle off a 95 foot cliff last winter and is currently trying to hit using only his sense of smell', you have a right to be upset. Ramon Castro shouldn't be in the major leagues, but I've known that since the day we traded for him. CQ is just a massive, massive disappointment for no apparent reason. Or is he? I can't think of a body part more critical to bat speed than the right wrist that Carlos broke being a moron at the beginning of September 2008. So yeah, there's the off chance that Carlos will just never be the same because of how he damaged that wrist.
As for the game that happened on Tuesday. As much as the game was lost by Jake Peavy getting the living crap kicked out of him, the offense lost it equally by taking the first six innings of the game off. Recording only two hits, having separate streaks of six and seven straight batters retired, and looking generally mystified by a guy the Tampa Rays stopped just short of giving away meant that it was 6-0 Cleveland by the time the Sox started their bizarre parade of doubles, and scored 3 runs. Ramirez and Kotsay hit two each, though Kotsay marred one of his by idiotically trying to stretch it into a triple (and costing the team a run because Quentin doubled right after him). Either he, Tim Raines, Joey Cora, or all three seem to think that Mark is not pudgy and 34 years old. It's too bad I've only been following the made-up stat of Game-Ruiners all season, and haven't kept track of RSBPs (Really Stupid Baserunning Plays), why I could start my own version of baseballreference.com, only instead of trying to better understand the game through statistics, I would just elaborately catalogue subjective expressions of my own bitterness.
Ramirez continues to encourage, as it seems the weather is finally agreeing with him, but Kotsay is a more complicated case. He's hitting .343 in his last 10 games, and according to Ozzie's stated policy of deciding who gets at bats in the outfield depending on production, Mark is due to start getting the nod over Andruw Jones (4 for his last 25), and Carlos Quentin (possibly high on peyote).
That's right, I am starting to legitimately pin our offensive hopes on Mark Kotsay....
How can I possibly reconcile this?
Before I forget, the Sox square off in the rubber match tomorrow against the Indians in a matchup between Mark Buehrle (coming off an excellent start) versus Jake Westbrook (coming off a fairly mediocre outing against the surprising Cincinnati Reds) in a repeat of the opening day matchup. With the exception that it's being played at 11am for absolutely no reason.