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Unlucky or Just Plain Bad, You Decide

I would say that Mark Buehrle and the White Sox just got unlucky on Monday night, but the truth is they had nearly as many cheap hits and extra outs as the Angels but couldn't avoid the rally-killing double plays. In fact, I would argue that double plays --the Sox hit into 4 to the Angels 0-- were the entire difference in the game.

The Sox took an early 3-0 lead in the second after the Angels were unable to turn a double play on Joe Crede, who was somehow credited with a hit on what would prove to be the first of about 4 different questionable scoring decisions. While there are 2 errors listed in the box score --the Anaheim official scorer apparently only hands out errors if the ball leaves the field of play-- I can think of at least 4 more shoulda-been-an-errors off the top of my head. Juan Uribe had two, both of which looked like easy double plays, and Orlando Cabrera added another.

Buehrle didn't get hit hard. Only the Vladamir Guerrero homer, which followed one of Uribe's botched DPs, was really tagged, but poor defense, a number of weak hits, and the aforementioned bizarre scoring makes it look like a terrible outing in the box score. As I mentioned in the gamethread, Buehrle entered the night with the 3rd worst DER (balls in play converted into outs) of any American league pitcher at .652. By my calculations, that defensive efficiency dropped to .636, which would put him within an eyelash of the worst mark in the league. To quote Hawk, he's wearin' it.

In what was a microcosm of the game, the Sox allowed what proved to be the winning runs in a bizarre 6th inning. Buehrle had just come off a rough 5th that saw him give up the Vlad HR after the shoulda-been DP, and a 2-out Garret Anderson RBI triple --Swisher needs to stop coating his throwing hand in non-stick cooking spray between innings-- one batter after Robb Quinlan hit a Baltimore chop infield single. Buehrle struck out the first two batters of the 6th and induced a soft ground ball to third base that a charging Joe Crede threw away. The next 5 batters would reach base, plating 4 runs after what should have been the 3rd out.

Here's how it went down: Buehrle gave up a double before Ehren Wasserman --Did I mention I was worried about Wassermann?-- gave up a rope and nubber, followed by a couple of solid hits off Boone Logan before they could finally record the final out, a strikeout. They struck out the side, but an error, an unfortunate bounce, and some generally poor relief work finally sunk the Sox hopes.

The Sox are just finding ways to lose right now. There was blame to be thrown around to every part of the team once again Monday. So as they sit in third place a game below .500 it's time to ask; unlucky or just plain bad?