Some of my favorite cartoons of all-time are the old Looney Tunes Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner cartoons. In particular, I loved the one in which the Coyote finally caught the Road Runner only to discover, after chasing him through a series of elaborate tubes, that the Road Runner was now extremely large while the Coyote was miniaturized. Coyote famously held up a sign that read, "All right, wise guys, you always wanted me to catch him -- now what do I do?"
That about sums up my feelings about Ozzie Guillen's handling of the 9th inning Tuesday night.
In his three years in Chicago, Guillen has routinely expressed a desire to have more speed on his club. Midway through the contest with the Indians, substitute announcer Steve Stone commented that the current lineup was the speediest Guillen has been able to field this season, perhaps in his entire tenure. That speed produced an easy run in the first inning when Jerry Owens led off with a single, stole first on the first pitch to Josh Fields, was moved over by a Fields' groundout, and scored on a Paul Konerko Sac-Fly. Free run.
The Sox followed their second (and final) hit of the night in almost exactly the same fashion. With one out in the 5th, Scott Podsenik singled and stole second on the next pitch, but was unable to score after Juan Uribe and Danny Richar made routine outs.
Fast forward to the 9th, because the Sox sure did. The Sox have had 3 base runners all game, one since the first inning. Jerry Owens is leading off yet again. Owens was called out on strikes, but was able to reach first when the defensively challenged Victor Martinez let "strike three" get by him. So what happens on the first pitch to Josh Fields? A bunt!
That's right. He was bunting! With Victor Martinez behind the plate! On a night when the Sox had two first-pitch, no-doubt stolen bases!
I didn't listen to the post game, so I'm not 100% sure the bunt was a Guillen call. It could very well have been a dumb rookie (Fields) not knowing the situation. But I have a feeling it was Ozzie not fully trusting the two rookies; Fields for his ability to get the runner over, and Owens for his ability to steal against one of the worst catchers in baseball. And if that's the case, Fields shouldn't be hitting #2 and Owens doesn't provide the Sox with anything of value.
It's a good thing the Sox have been out of the race for a solid 2 months, otherwise this might have been a meltdown of a post.
The poor offensive performance wasted a great outing by John Danks, whose changeup was the best we've seen from him all year. The 8 strikeouts were a career high, 7 of which were swinging at changeups.
The last two games by Danks and Gavin Floyd give the Sox some real hope for future should they be able to unload the fossilizing Jose Contreras.