(Quick question, do you use the possessive ('s) for Sox? Is it a plural or a singular? Do any rules apply seeing as it's...you know, not a real word?)
Any refutation of the Cubs-Sox series having lost all it's luster can start with the capacity (or at least as close as we'll see for a while) crowd, the game leading the night on SportsCenter (thanks for that, Ozzie), and how the events of the single night become fodder for damning statements about the season.
Adam Dunn has struggled all year, but with the roar of thousands
showering boos down on him, I feared for his life a bit more than usual
Monday night. He's been awful, he looks awful, has all year, and is
struggling in a way that's removed of precedent in his prime. I'm
worried, you're worried, we all scream because we're worried.
But with his contract, Dunn isn't going anywhere. And with his untapped
offensive potential, and the only help available (Viciedo) needed
elsewhere, Dunn is going to need to keep playing, and keep struggling
most likely for a while.
Ever since realizing the absurdity of screaming at Keith Foulke after a
blown save when I was 14 and he was battling velocity issues, I've sworn
against booing players for anything besides blatant lack of effort or
heinous crimes, but obviously that's not universal. Nevertheless, the
He nearly powered a ball out to right without striking it particularly true in the 8th. Hey, that could be something.
Gavin Floyd never had great command throughout the night, but
ceased all relations with competent pitching in the 6th inning, where he
faced four batters, walked one, allowed a single to another, and gave
up bombs to Starlin Castro and Carlos Pena. With a big failure in a big
inning of a big game, he can expect to go through the rounds of facing
accusations of mental midgetry.
Floyd certainly lacks a great ability to operate without his good stuff,
which probably has a lot more to do with having a below-average
fastball than any relation to Caspar Milquetoast. Like Phil Humber this
year, developing a slider has helped Gavin avoid dying with the
inconsistency of his curveball as much, but obviously horrible nights
like Monday still happen. That shifts the blame to Guillen.
Which also might be a case of being fatally flawed than mental
midgetry. Ozzie gives his starters every chance to go as deep into
games as they can. You remember this strategy.
So while it may have seemed silly to let a sputtering Floyd continue to
operate with baserunners on in a tie game, I guess it seemed equally
silly to Ozzie to not give a trusted starter who was under 100 pitches a
chance to get through 6 innings. A change in approach probably
requires a change in the guy making the approach. Not saying that it'd
be worth it just to prevent another June 20th, 2011 (I generally swoon
with delight over Guillen's pitching management), but that's probably
what it would take.
Other thoughts on managing
Where Ozzie showed just the right amount of initiative is probably where
he'll take just as much criticism. In the bottom of the 6th, after
Alexei Ramirez was tagged out on a grounder he believed to be foul,
Guillen raced out, screamed, pointed, swept dirt around, kicked a
catcher's mask, made an ass of himself, and most of all, kept his irate All-Star caliber shortstop from getting tossed out of the game.
Guillen, or Cora, I guess, got 4 innings of scoreless relief from Brian
Bruney, Will Ohman, Lucas Harrell, and just a teensy bit of Chris Sale.
That's remarkable, but more importantly, is using 0 IP of Matt
Thornton, Jesse Crain, and Sergio Santos for a game they trailed in.
The lineup still featured plenty of dead-weight beyond Dunn. Rios
botched several crushable deliveries, Beckham is so out of sorts he's on a sabbatical,
and Juan Pierre had a 1 for 5 night that dipped his slugging percentage
under .300...which is also known as 'The Final Frontier'. The Indians
and Rangers have already panic-fired their hitting coaches this season
for the sake of 'spark-lighting', and the Sox certainly have the
symptoms for doing the same. Call me prudent, but the DH-catastrophe of
2010 has turned me against dismissing current plans without having a
dynamic and worthy alternative. Unless the White Sox have a hitting
savant they're calling in from cornfields of Iowa to replace him, they
shouldn't dismiss Greg Walker--who clearly has a very thorough account of all the player's swings--just for the shock to the system.
The new optimism for the Replace Pierre with Viciedo crowd
(Pierre--and I'm not sure if you caught this--currently is slugging
under .300) is that the White Sox are just gaming the service time with
Jackin' Dayan. He needs to stew in Charlotte for two more weeks to push
his free agency back a season.
After that, anything goes!
The loss drops the White Sox to 12-21 against losing teams, and 23-18
against the others. Sadly, that's probably more the sign of a team
incapable of consistently strong efforts more than a need for a 'stop
being stupid' switch to be flicked
Tags: Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, Alexei Ramirez, baseball, brian bruney, carlos pena, Chicago Cubs, Chris Sale, Dayan Viciedo, Gavin Floyd, Gordon Beckham, greg walker, jesse crain, Juan Pierre, keith foulke, Lucas Harrell, Matt Thornton, Ozzie Guillen, Sergio Santos, starlin castro, White Sox, Will Ohman