I don't like to blame a game on a manager. After all, it's the players who play the game. They're the ones who are most responsible for the outcome of the game. Not tonight. Ozzie saw Paul Byrd listed as the Angels starting pitcher, took a look at his splits, and emptied his bench of every possible left handed bat. He filled out an inexplicable line up card that would have made Sunday Jerry Manuel jealous.
There were only two non-regulars in the lineup, but one of them was easily the worst player to start a game at first base this season. (Seriously, name another first baseman who managed to post an OPS+ of 58 last season) That's not even bringing up the fact that he was making his major league debut at the position, which he hadn't played in 6 years.
The results were predictable. Timo made a costly error in the 4th inning that allowed 2 unearned runs to score, and inflated Jose Contreras' pitch count. The former giving the Angels the lead, and the latter leading directly to Ozzie pulling Contreras after six innings pitched.
Contreras' high pitch count led directly to Ozzie calling on Kevin Walker, who should have never been on the roster to begin with. When he was recalled, I said the move was "curious." Which was understating it, because I didn't even bring up the money issue. (Walker's contract was only for a guaranteed $100k, but the move put him in the position to earn up to about 500K.) That money doesn't seem like a lot, but when you add it to two other questionable financial decisions, Timo Perez and Ben Davis @ $1M a piece, it becomes a problem. Simple math tells you that's $2.5M, which can get you a pretty fine reliever, or a lot of wiggle room at the trade deadline.
I can't defend Ozzie in any way for bringing Walker into the game in the situation that he did (7th inning of a 1-run game). You and I knew what was going to happen. There was a collective shock in the BTF game chatter when he made the call. (Posts 67-70 made prior to Walker even throwing a pitch.) Earlier this week, I said he had the most unimpressive 0.00 in baseball. Walker's once sparkling ERA now checks in at an even dozen, as he packs his bags for Charlotte. There's really no analysis that needs to be given. Bad Move.
Also losing his sparkling 0.00 ERA tonight was Dustin Hermanson. It had been about a week since he last pitched, and he looked shaky in that outing. He didn't look any better tonight. In fact, he looked much worse, falling behind in the count and leaving the ball up in the zone.
Ozzie's final bone-headed managerial decision of the night was allowing Juan Uribe to bat for himself as the winning run in the 9th inning, as Paul Konerko was twiddling his thumbs on the bench. Francisco Rodriguez was trying to give the game away, only retiring the most impatient of hitters; A.J Pierzynski and Timo Perez. In the at-bat immediately preceding Uribe's, Rodriguez showed that he wanted no part of throwing a fastball to a power hitter, throwing nothing but breaking balls to Frank Thomas. I imagine he would have done the same thing to Konerko.
I'm sure Brantley was ripping into Ozzie on ESPN. This time rightfully so. Thankfully, I didn't get to hear it.
Honestly, I'm not very upset about the loss at all. I heard Timo was starting at first base around 3, and I had already resigned myself to the loss. So no insightful analysis tonight. I'm just going to try to forget about it. You can go to town arguing about Ozzie's brutal management in the comments though.
Futuresox is down, so Dan sent me a spreadsheet of the May stats for the entire White Sox organization. Check it out. (It looks all funky in Mozilla for me now. I don't know what's wrong. It was working fine earlier. It works in IE, so use that if you have to.)