Here is my recap. It could bring back some fond memories.
I missed the play in question, as well as the first 5 innings, thankfully. I've been doing manual labor for the past couple of days, and should continue through the weekend, so the posting will continue to be light; just like the Sox offensive output.
I see the Sox PR machine has convinced at least one beat reporter that no shakeup is necessary. I haven't had the heart to read any of print papers the last few days, but I heard Hawk and DJ talking about what a great job Walker does, so you know there's an internal memo circulating. I really like when Whalen credited Walker for the prodigious output of the '05 World Champs. You know the team that finished 9th out of 14 AL teams in runs scored?
Aside from the great pitching and defense, the one part of the game where the Sox clearly outclassed their playoff opponents was the bottom of the order, thanks in large part to late-season swing adjustments.
- You remember the key changes Walker made to Joe Crede's swing late in the season? Oh wait, Crede did that by himself.
- OK, how about when he added a leg kick to Uribe to briefly turn him into a patient slugger? Oh wait, that was Frank Thomas and Walt Hriniak.
- The White Sox inability to hit Johan Santana and C.C. Sabathia. It's not just that they're good pitchers. The White Sox make these two look unhitbale. And worse, I've seen no adjustments made; only excuses and hat-tipping.
- The only hitters developed from the Sox system under Walker's tutelage are Joe Crede and Aaron Rowand, who both took years to adjust to major league pitching. And, as I mentioned before, Crede finally figured it out on his own. This is partially a player personnel issue, but as we've seen with Crede and Brian Anderson, Walker is in no hurry to shorten up a player's swing.
- The only player acquired during Walker's tenure that you can argue became a more productive hitter under his watch is Jermaine Dye. And then you're talking about a player who was in the big leagues at age 22, making the all-star game by age 26. He's always been a good hitter. He just had to get healthy to return to the true talent that lied within. Maybe we should put Jermaine on Herm Schneider's resume.
- Opposite field? Where's that?
I went through the '06 season, when Sox pitchers struggled to hold ERA's under 5, without complaining about Don Cooper specifically because he's one of the best pitching coaches in baseball. In my opinion he's in the top 4. (Mazzone, Peterson, Minnesota's Anderson, and Cooper.) He's been credited with helping Esteban Loaiza, Jose Contreras, Jon Garland, Bobby Jenks, Matt Thornton, (and I'm sure there's soon to be more) turn into effective major league pitchers. Anybody can have a bad year. There are some things that are out of your control.
I'm not the type of person who turns on a pitching/hitting coach after a bad month, or even a bad year. If Walker had as many success stories as he had quotes about what a good guy he is, about how hard he's working with the guys, he would be one of the best hitting coaches in baseball. Unfortunately for him, baseball's about results, not sound bytes. And in terms of results, Walker just bites.