Morel brings the White Sox back from the brink

Morel brings the White Sox back from the brink
61682764.jpg

Here's to seeing this 10-12 more times // Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune

I've learned some things in my 14 months of a baseball blogger.  Not a whole lot, but some things.  One of which is to not buy too heavily into the notion of the cathartic season-reversing win.  Just because something made for a cathartic and emboldening watch for you the viewer, doesn't mean it had the same effect on the 25 guys who matter.  I could have sworn that the 1-out, 9th inning grand slam Ross Gload hit in Baltimore in 2006 was the spark that would finally wake that team up, but...apparently no one's capable of being inspired by Ross Gload. 

And that's assuming that such an endorphin release is even going to help at all in future games.

However, with the way that the first month and a half has gone for the
White Sox, I'm as firm of a believer in the concept of the demoralizing
loss as ever.  As circumstances had it, Brent Morel was the one to save
the Sox from that fate.  With the Sox down 3-0 in the 5th and looking
headed toward another inning chocked full of runners left on base, Morel
got a fastball on the inner portion and yanked it into the left field
bleachers for a 3-run HR like it was just something he does to pass the
time. 

61682257.jpg

Danks took a moment to mock the facial expressions of everyone watching him // Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune

Yeah, there was an 8th inning rally, and some nervy
bullpen work from Crain and Santos, and a patented
look-dead-for-a-couple-innings-then-wake-up-with-a-start effort from
John Danks, but if you're looking for the moment where the momentum
switched, Morel's 32.2% Win Probability Added Blast was it.

Not
to pile on our North Side neighbors (they just happen to be the team I
watch 2nd most, local TV coverage is funny that way), but after losing
behind 7 unearned runs on Tuesday night, Cubs manager Mike Quade
lamented "If we haven't reach rock bottom with this, we're pretty damn
close."

For pretty deep into the 5th inning, it was getting
pretty easy to imagine Ozzie giving his own variation of that
sentiment.  The White Sox seemed dead set on wiping out the gains of the
West Coast trip by losing lifelessly in a manner that encapsulated all
of their faults.

-Brett Lillibridge gave Juan Pierre a day off
from being himself, and got a hit in the team's first at-bat.  Then he
was wiped off the bases by a double play and the Sox didn't record
another knock until Morel remedied that.

-Danks gave the South
Side it's second straight night of deflating control problems.  Texas is
missing their top two hitters, but it becomes immaterial when Danks
walks the bases loaded like he did in the 2nd inning.  If another
starter comes out missing his mechanics in the opening innings, it won't
be long till the correlation with a 6-man rotation is exaggerated into
causation. 

-Pursuant to theme of the people we trust breaking
our hearts, Alexei Ramirez blew a chance to rescue Danks from his
three-walk 2nd inning by letting a groundball...well...it went through
his legs.  It didn't look quite as silly as it sounds, but it was bad,
man.  I love Alexei's defense too much to dwell on it more.  Take heart
in that he'll get to 17,000 more balls than Jeter this season.

61685081.jpg

Sergio's making a push to be the most valuable shortstop on the roster // Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune

But
the Morel blast put that all in the background.  Texas obliged the
evening's mood by sending out the worst reliever they could find for the
8th inning, Dallas McPherson staved off Dayan Viciedo-lust for a night,
and Sergio Santos continued to demystify the 9th inning in a one-run
save...it all looks so easy when no one gets on base and the ball
doesn't leave the infield.

Perhaps I'm dwelling Morel's home run
way too much because it was unexpected, made my night 32.2% better, and
made Hawk Harrelson sound like his thought-to-be-dead son had just
returned from the war, but it kind of represented what the Sox offense
has been missing.

No, not HRs from Morel; more like 'competence from the other guys'. 

It's not great that 35 year-old Paul Konerko has been the only
consistent offensive performer, but it'd be a lot easier if the leadoff
spot and the back of the order could be counted on to do the Major
League task of punishing pitchers who are struggling badly and digging
their own grave.

Morel lacks elite power, doesn't go opposite
field as much as he could, and gets caught flailing at pitches low and
away, but on a 1-2 count Matt Harrison threw him a fastball belt-high
that he (and most) could pull, and he punished it. 

More of this would be a delight.

Follow White Sox Observer on Twitter @ JRFegan and on Facebook
 

Leave a comment