I suppose when you win 7 straight, when your playoff hopes are as high as ever, when you're facing a team you've dominated recently, you're bound to get a little cocky. That was Tuesday's loss to the Tigers.
The White Sox seemed to think they could get away with giving away outs, with poor baserunning decisions, with leaving an ineffective starter in the game to give up some much needed insurance runs. They couldn't.
Jose Contreras was terrible--2007-esque--and I've got pretty graphs to prove it. Contreras was a couple MPH slower with his fastball according to gameday, and while he walked only one, his control withing the strike zone was, let's say, lacking.
A week ago, when there were calls for Ozzie Guillen's head following his Tampa Tirade, I wrote "Guillen has been superb through the first 55 games. He hasn't made a single egregious in-game tactical error large enough for me to even note in any of my recaps.
Well, it was a nice run. I knew it couldn't last for an entire season.
Contreras allowed 5 runs on 8 hits in the 4th through 6th innings, with two of the outs he recorded being handed to him (a bunt, and an overrun of first on a run-scoring play). In the top of the 7th, the offense scratched across a run against Nate Robertson and the Tigers' pen to put them back within 2. Yet there was Ozzie, despite the diminished velocity, despite the brutal last three innings, sending Contreras back out there for the 7th inning. Add in a sacrifice bunt and a couple of Not-Even-Close steal attempts, and this was easily Ozzie's worst game of the year.
Not even the generally cautious (at least so far) Jeff Cox could escape the out giveaways. He waved Carlos Quentin, who stutter stepped as he passed third base, home from second on a hard hit single right at left fielder Brent Clevlen. It was immediately obvious to anyone watching at home--I assume that's why Quentin stuttered--that Q! would be toast at the plate with anything other than a Podsednik-Damon-Pierre arm in left. He was, and he took the Sox hopes of an 8th inning comeback with him.
Here's a quick guide to all the free outs handed out by the Sox on the night
|1||0||AJ Pierzynski||Sacrifice bunt|
|1||1||Orlando Cabrera||Caught Stealing (3rd)|
|3||2||AJ Pierzynski||Caught advancing on throw|
|5||2||Alexei Ramirez||Caught Stealing (2nd)|
|8||1||Carlos Quentin||Thrown out at home|
The Sox may be a good team, but they're not good enough to spot any team 5 outs and a poor pitching performance.