It was bound to happen sometime, but that doesn't make Wednesday's shutout at the hands of the Indians any easier to swallow. The Sox offense has gone cold, scoring three runs or less in 5 of their last 7 games. Paul Konerko has left enough men on base the last two games to field a World Cup team.
Freddy Garcia wasn't bad. In fact, his line is a little misleading thanks to 2 late runs on the hands of Rob Mackowiak and Cliff Politte. Garcia was very effective with his off-speed stuff all game. He was so effective, that it appeared the Indians were sitting on his fastball. All of the Indians extra-base hits came on fastballs. They were all smoked too. Garcia just doesn't have the fastball to blow people away now. He's got to find a way to El Duque his way by without much of a fastball, or it's going to be a long season.
As for those two extra runs... With 1 out in the 7th, Lou Merloni hit a soft infield single on a breaking ball. Then Grady Sizemore roped a line drive to center field -- when Brian Anderson is in the game, those are called outs. But Mackowiak was manning center, so it goes in the books as an RBI triple. -- Ozzie pulled Garcia in favor of Politte, who, of course, let Sizemore score before recording an out.
Ozzie should be laying into the guys as he did on Saturday once again, as they've made a number of mental and physical errors in the last couple days that are just unacceptable.
A couple of things bothered me about the lineup Ozzie used tonight.
- If there is one type of pitcher that Brain Anderson has shown success against, it's sinkerballers. Felix Hernandez and Carlos Silva are the two pitchers who he's hit the hardest, and they're both known for getting the opponent to put the ball on the ground.
- I couldn't believe Alex Cintron was allowed anywhere near the lineup a day after he made an inexcusable mental error in the ninth. I wonder if Ozzie even understands the advantage of a platoon. After Wednesday, Cleveland will have the second best OPS from it's first baseman thanks to the platoon system.
Ozzie has yet to start using Cintron in place of Tadahito Iguchi, who, aside from the Rich Hill game, has been brutal against left-handed pitching. He almost seems confused at how to use Cintron. There's really no reason to use him against a right-hander when Iguchi is the better play there.
- Finally, our pitching staff, on the whole, is having a tough time striking guys out this season. Only the San Francisco Giants have a K/9 lower than the White Sox. That means that the Sox rely on their defense for run prevention more than any other team in the American League. Whenever possible, Ozzie needs to put his best defensive alignment on the field.