Ozzie Guillen and the White Sox made a shrewd move by waiting until the last possible minute to announce Clayton Richard as Wednesday's starter, and were rewarded with a surprisingly good outing. But Ozzie pushed his luck a little too much, and the shaky Sox pen put the game out of reach in short order.
I was confused in the lead up to this game that nobody in the mainstream media seemed to think Clayton Richard would get the start. To me, he seemed to be the obvious choice. The Yankees aren't the Royals, after all, and have a number of good left-handed hitters. So, even though Richard isn't a major league starter, he was still a better option than Lance Broadway for this game. Heck, even Broadway was dropping hints this week. Though I can't seem to find the exact quote now, Broadway said something like "they haven't told me" in regards to whether he was getting the start Wednesday.
For 6 innings, Richard make the Sox look like geniuses. He skated through the first 5 innings giving up only 1 hit, and worked out of trouble in the 6th, striking out Derek Jeter with 2 men on to end the inning. In the 7th inning however, Richard was unable to extricate himself from some self-induced trouble.
Richard walked the incredibly unclutch Alex Rodriguez, who advanced to second on Jason Giambi's groundout. With two outs and Xavier Nady due up, Ozzie came out for a mound visit, but didn't pull Richard, who had only given up 3 hits in his 6.2 innings of work.
Ozzie should have pulled him there. Richard isn't one of the other 4 starters, and isn't deserving of the long leash I've called for just a few days ago. Heck, he had never gone this deep into a major league game before. But with the bullpen as poor as it's been, it was hard to argue with leaving Richard in for one more batter. The results begged to differ. Richard quickly fell behind Nady, and then gave up a single back up the middle to even the score at one, the incredibly unclutch A-Rod scoring the tying run.
That definitely should have been Richard's last batter. But Ozzie left him, with Robinson Cano, who had 2 of the 4 Yankees hits in the game, due up. Cano quickly doubled down the right field line, and only then, with the go-ahead run 90 feet from home did Ozzie go to his pen. Predictably, they provided no relief. But it might have been a different situation if Ozzie had tried harder to protect the Sox lead.
Even though Ozzie made his mistakes in this game, it's easy to place too much blame on him for the Sox loss. The real loser in this game was the Sox offense. 5 times they put the leadoff man on base, including 3 leadoff doubles. Yet they were only able to productive out their way into 1 run, let alone any actual hitting with men on base.
The Sox dropped their record to 9-31 when they fail to hit a HR, highlighting their inability to produce runs in other ways.