Thanks to the 6-man rotation, Jake Peavy was able to step in Saturday at a moment of need for the bullpen, and toss 4 excellent shutout innings (7 Ks!) while earning the win in a 3-0 White Sox triumph over the Nationals. Hooraaay!
Unfortunately, the reason Peavy was in the game was because John Danks strained his oblique, thus rendering the 6-man rotation dead. Whoops.
Part of the reason for the 6-man was to guard against injury...but that was supposed to be Peavy's injury. Now the White Sox are in the position to have to trust Jake Peavy to pitch every fifth day. This isn't an absurd concept, and is something people use to do all the time with great success. But it's more precarious than the beginning of the season when the fifth guy holding the staff together was Philip Humber. Jake Peavy is less reliable than Philip Humber. Welcome to 2011.
Good God, what a rough year for Johnny. First he starts 0-8, then
people make the mistake of caring that he's 0-8, then he actually starts
to pitch poorly for a stretch, then he takes a line drive off the head
and pretend it didn't erase his memories, now he's got an injury that
makes hula hooping intolerable. His season isn't over and this isn't an
injury that will affect his performance down the road, but John should
miss a substantial chunk of time. Like weeks. Possibly many of them.
That said, what an effort by the bullpen! Brian Bruney reminded us all
that it wasn't actually his fault he was brought in to face Mike Morse
on Friday for absolutely no reason, by throwing 2.1 shutout innings in
an emergency after Crain and Thornton exhausted themselves the previous
night. Even better for Brian, he apparently is sticking around as Tony Pena was injured in his last rehab outing. Man, Tony's really hitting that 'DFA me!' message home.
That said, I attended Friday night's game, and a worse fan-murdering,
morale-eviscerating, managerial incompetocalypse has not been witnessed
by this blogger.
In time I might learn to cherish the memories of witnessing 7 shutout
innings worth of Good Edwin, and not one, but two miracle home runs.
And maybe my sister and I will smile at the moment where she jumped to
boo Adam Dunn, looked back in anticipation of my disapproval, and I just
waived my hand and told her to go for it.
But no, instead I'll remember the 8th inning, where after Chris Sale had
recorded two outs, he was pulled so that he wouldn't have to face Mike
Morse. Mike Morse of the totally non-drastic platoon splits. He was
pulled, in favor of Brian Bruney, he of the nonexistent credentials as
right-handed specialist. It not only immediately resulted in a 2-run HR
hit to Joliet, but a run in the next inning because, hey, Brian Bruney
is not a very good pitcher, and it's Ozzie's job to hide him....and
hiding someone in plain sight is not as effective as you'd think.
Did I mention that better, rested right-handers were available in the
bullpen at the time...and were even used later in the game? Let's make
sure that I did.
Or, I could remember the 13th inning, where Ozzie decided to
intentionally walk Jayson Werth (1-7 with four strikeouts, including one
against the pitcher currently in the game) in order to face Roger
Bernadina (with 3 hits already, including one against the pitcher
currently in the game). Bernadina got an RBI single, because sometimes
comeuppance for foolishness is immediate.
The White Sox allowed 9 runs to the Nationals in the 7 runs in the 7
innings after Edwin Jackson lost the game, and botched a scenario in the
14th where Matt Thornton retired the first two batters. then induced
two weak grounders from the next two batters. Not only wasn't the
inning over, but they were losing after that. So maybe this game was
always going to end in tragedy whether Ozzie made head-scratching
choices or not.
After all, he deserves credit for pinch-hitting Mark Teahen (a man who's
career never took off because he never molded into the slugger he was
projected as) for Gordon Beckham, doesn't he? A negligible amount of
credit is still an amount, isn't it?
After games that awful and gut-wrenching, it's always a surprise as a
fan that an actual game is played the next day. But it is, and the
White Sox won it, showing that baseball chugs along no matter what,
oblivious to the pain it's causing.