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Alex Cintron will swing at anything

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The White Sox wasted plenty of scoring opportunities on Tuesday night, but no single missed opportunity was as damaging at Alex Cintron's boneheaded decision in the top of the 9th inning. Scott Podsednik led off the inning by working a 7-pitch walk after falling behind in the count early. With the Sox down a run, and Victor (I throw out 14% of baserunners) Martinez behind the plate, you have to give Podsednik the chance to get himself into scoring position.

Instead of taking a couple of pitches so that Pods could read Wickman's move, and eventually get himself into second, Cintron swung at the first pitch he saw, weakly grounding into a fielder's choice. He eventually stole second, two pitches later, but it would have been nice to have Pods on second - moving to third on Cintron's eventual groundout, instead of hoping for a hit to score the tying run.

There were other mental errors too, some mental, some physical.

  • In the third, Juan Uribe led off with a single. Ozzie had Brian N. Anderson lay down a bunt, which I don't terribly disagree with. Anderson has been pretty bad at the plate, and a successful bunt is better than a strikeout. But the decision to have Iguchi bunting after Pablo Ozuna had just driven in two and the big boppers due up is misguided. That's not even bringing up the fact that Iguchi popped the bunt up to Victor Martinez.
  • Jermaine Dye misplayed an Aaron Boone single into a three bases, which caused...
  • Mark Buehrle to meltdown. Mr. Buehrle needs to grow a pair. For the second straight season, he has demonstrated zero ability to pitch over the mistakes made behind him. This is the same thing Jon Garland was derided for from 2001-2004, yet he was never as bad a Mark has been the last two seasons.

    Buehrle's meltdown was so bad that all of the runs were earned. If he had been able to retire the batters behind Boone, while allowing just 1-run to score, it would have been logged as an unearned run. But the batters behind Boone went HBP, Sac fly, HR, 2B, 2B. The only way that kills a rally is if the opposing team just gets tired from running around the bases.

There was one shining beacon of light in that mess of a game though; the revelation that is Matt Thornton. It's still early, and we're talking about small sample sizes here, but this Thornton is nothing like the pitcher we acquired from Seattle, who caused me to make polls as crooked as Chicago elections. This Thornton gets ahead of batters, pitches inside, and appears effective against righties as well as lefties. It also appears that Don Cooper has turned him into a groundball-strikeout pitcher. I'd be using him in high leverage situations, regardless of the opponents' handedness, before the 9th from now on.