Looks can be decieving. At first glance, Jon Garland's 15.19 ERA makes it look like last season was a fluke. At first glance, Matt Thorton's 4 walks make it look like he reverted back to the terrible control he displayed at Seattle. Neither is true, however.
Garland looked great for the first 3 innings of baseball on Friday. His change-up was really fooling the Royals hitters. In the 4th, though, he seemed to lose his control a bit, and the team melted down around him. Specifically, Pablo Ozuna, forced into the line-up because Ozzie chose to sit the fragile Scott Podsednik against a lefty and flat-out refuses to play Ross Gload in the outfield, misplayed a routine flyball into a run scoring double. Garland looked like he was going to pitch over the gaffe, striking out Mark Teahan, but he followed that with back-to-back doubles to Angel Berroa and John Buck. Though Garland had allowed 5 runs in the inning, he didn't look that bad doing it.
The 5th inning was more of the same. Garland walked Grudz to lead off the inning, then tried to be too careful with Sweeney, who doubled thanks again to Ozuna. He actually had Sweeney fooled on the pitch. It was a low change-up that Sweeney put a defensive swing on. Ozuna misjudged the wind, again, and Garland had runners at 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. Both runners would score without the aid of another hit.
At that point, Garland should have been pulled. He wasn't fooling anyone anymore, and McCarthy was shown warming in the pen (though it could have been just a "side-session.") Instead, Ozzie trotted him back out there for the 6th, where he quickly allowed the Royals #8 & 9 hitters to reach. The lead, which was once 6 was now a 1-run deficit.
Matt Thornton came on in relief and allowed a run in each inning, though one was credited to Garland. Thorton's problem wasn't the walk, even though he had 4 of them (3 were intentional), it's not having a secondary pitch. Major league hitters can hit 96 MPH fastballs, even if you're left-handed. Cooper may have been able to quickly remedy his control problems, but adding a breaking pitch and some movement his fastball will be a more difficult challenge.
The weather shouldn't be used as an excuse as to why the Sox lost this game. The Royals had to play in the same conditions, and the Sox got a free run thanks to the wind turning a Uribe pop-up into a double.
A few questions after today's game:
- If Ross Gload is the 6th outfielder, what value does he have?
- Can we get a right-handed reserve outfielder who can be at least an average fielder? (This is the same thing I brought up when arguing that Ozuna should be in Charlotte before Borcahrd was traded.)
- If Ozuna can't play the outfield, can barely play the infield, and his only redeeming quality is speed, why not get somebody up here with more tools?
- After the 4th, when Ozuna showed that he was completely lost in the wind and Affeldt had already been chased, why not bring in a respectable outfielder like, oh I don't know, Podsednik?
More Losing on the Farm
- Charlotte lost to Toledo. They've scored a total of 2 runs in 2 games. -- Sweeney got his first AAA hit, and Fields added another double.
- Birmingham lost in extras to the Cubs AA affiliate. -- Lance Broadway got the start, making an impressive AA debut. (6IP 4H 1R 0ER 0BB 10K)
- Winston-Salem lost to Kingston. -- Anderson Gomes tripled, as did Dony Lucy.
- Kanny lost to the Braves Low-A affiliate. -- Paulo Orlando hit another double, and Salvador Sanchez added a HR. Daniel Cortes appears to be in the pen. He pitched a perfect inning with 2Ks