I understand the need to rotate certain players in and out of the line-up. Ozzie has a tough decision to make every game with Podsednik, Rowand, Dye, Everett, & Thomas making 5 solid major league players and only 4 spots to put them in. He's had a tendency to break out the Sunday Jerry Manuel line-up anytime the Sox take the first two games of the series. I guess he thought today was Sunday, because we simultaneously rested our #2, 3, and 5 hitters for no apparent reason. I can only hope that there was an abundance of scouts at the game who were looking at some of our role players for trade.
The team is 16-3 when Frank Thomas starts. There is a reason for that. -- He's good. -- He needs to be in the line-up as often as possible. If he's healthy, he should play 6 days a week.
The goat of the game is without a doubt Willie Harris. It's gotten to the point where he's almost impossible to defend for having a roster spot anymore. Just to give you an idea of how bad he was, if we pinch hit for him each time he came up with a fundamentally sound pitcher, the game's outcome might have been a lot different.
In the first inning, Podsednik led off with an 'infield single' (Thanks ump). Willie took the first two pitches he saw for balls, and let Scott cruise into 2nd against Jason Kendall's weak arm. -- Runner on second, nobody out -- On the next pitch, Willie chases a ball up and out of the zone, flipping it weakly into left field for Eric Byrnes to play easily. Carl Everett would follow him with a fly out to right, moving Pods to third, but that could have been a Sac Fly if Willie had gotten the job done.
In the third inning, Pods once again singled to lead off the inning. Willie again took the first two pitches, and let Pods steal second. The count went to 3-0 on Harris, and then it all went downhill. The next pitch was right on the inside corner, a sinker (maybe a change, but I doubt he'd throw that 3-0). The only thing Willie could have done with that pitch was ground out to the first basemen or pull it foul. In other words, Saarloos conceded third base on that pitch. Willie watched it for strike one.
The next pitch definitely a sinker, but this one caught more of the plate. It was the type of pitch that could have easily been directed which direction you wanted it to go. (like we've seen Jason Kendall do numerous times against us this year) Willie watched it for strike two. -- Was he taking pitches in the hope that Scott would steal third? Could be, but he passed two easy opportunities to get the job done.
Willie would fight off a tough 3-2 pitch, before being called out on strikes on a ball just off the plate. -- I'm not gonna complain about the call because,
- I don't like to blame umps for the outcome of the game.
- He showed absolutely no desire to try to get the job done. -- He only swung the bat once in the AB, and that was on a 3-2 pitch on the outer half. Normally, I would say he did a good job fighting it off, but I have to admit, I would have rather seen him strike out or ground out weakly to the shortstop because he was cheating on the pitch and trying to pull it.
Jurassic would once again be retired on a deep flyout that would have been a Sac Fly if only Willie had gotten the job done.
Willie's line for the night was 0-4, each of those coming with a runner on second base.
A year ago, I would have been complaining about Paul Konerko, or Jermaine Dye, or Carl Everett's inability to drive in runs, but here I sit today complaining about our back-up second baseman's inability to make productive outs. We've come a long way.
I think that just goes to show you,
- How great Tadahito Iguchi has been in the #2 spot.
- How fundamentally sound we have been as a team all year long.
It should come as no surprise that we lose on a day where we fail to execute in almost every aspect of the game.
I'm really tired of seeing the Oakland line-up. They're not going to be a team that takes you deep, (Yeah blame me for jinxing us later today when Buehrle gives up a few long balls.) but they work the count, take their walks, and put the ball in play. That's a really bad match up for Garland and Mark Buehrle, who pitch to contact and lack that dominant 'out pitch.' I'm surprised that Garland had very good starts against them.
Basebal reference's player linker isn't working anymore. Hopefully they get it back up and running, otherwise there's going to be a lot fewer links in my entries.
Update [2005-7-9 11:52:56 by The Cheat]:Chisox.com: Harris yearns for bigger role