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Missed Opportunity

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The Sox had a golden opportunity to really put Central Division out of reach tonight. At the end of play on Monday, the Sox would have either a 2 or 3 game lead with just 6 to play. Thanks to an offense predicated on giving up outs, that lead is down to just two.

By my count, the Sox gave away 5 outs on Monday.

  • In the second inning with one out, Joe Crede lined out to right field. Aaron Rowand was running on the play, and rounded second base. He was doubled off easily at first base.
  • In the 7th inning, Carl Everett had his most productive plate appearance in weeks, getting hit by a pitch. Aaron Rowand followed by failing to get a bunt down, putting himself in an 0-2 hole. He fought his way back to 3-2 in the 5+ minute at bat. On the first 3-2 pitch Carl was running, pulling the second baseman towards second, and right to where Aaron hit the ball. What would have been a sure single, runners on first and third with nobody out was now an easy double play.
  • In the 8th inning, Scott Podsednik tried to give away an out, but accidentally reached base to put runners at 1st and 2nd with nobody out. Naturally, it was Tadahito Iguchi's job to make sure he gave the Tigers an out. After all, the great A.J. Pierzynski was right behind him. You know him as the guy who has yet to walk against a left handed pitcher this season because he swings at everything they throw(.224/.241/.376 vs. LHP in 2005). He would predictably strike out on just three pitches, the last of which was in the opposite batters box. Jermaine Dye would just as predictably strike out behind him to end the inning.
  • In the ninth inning after Everett again lead off with a HBP, Aaron Rowand again failed to get a bunt down, this time popping out to first base.
5 outs! That's almost two innings. It's hard to win when you continually give the other team outs like that. It's even harder when you go 0-for-the-game with RISP.

Pierzynski's at-bat was the most pivotal AB of the game, and Ozzie, who can't swap pitchers for lefty-lefty match ups fast enough left him in there despite his poor showing this season against lefties. I don't know how much I can fault Ozzie though. It simply shows that we just don't have a capable righty bat off the bench.

Who was he going to turn to? Timo? Nope. Ozuna? Nope. Anderson? Not Ozzie. Widger? Not a chance. Borchard? LOL. Blum? Ugh. -- Get used to this folks. This is what the playoffs will be like. Opponents will walk people to exploit match ups like this.