That was some bell-shaped offense, uh, so to speak. From what I recall (and forgive me if I'm a little fuzzy...I drove back to Chicago after the game ended), we had 1 line drive total, from AJ, and it wasn't exactly laced. A lack of line drives has been a problem all year and it may well be something that continues. According to the THT Team Stats page, we're tied for last in line drive percentage with the Halos and Brew Crew. The upside is that we hit more flies than any team in the league. As you can see, that isn't necessarily a bad way to go. For one, the more flies any single player hits, the more likely he'll hit more home runs per flyball (notably uncited). But I wonder how well we could use this table to predict the quality of the Sox offense on any given night, knowing its exceptional reliance on the fly ball.
In any case, the other question I have is how much are the bats to blame tonight? I know SSH would crank this knob all the way to 11, but what exactly are your options when a pitcher is throwing a lot of strikes and has good stuff? De La Rosa was in the zone all night until his last inning and he managed 8 K's in a scant 5 IP, conceding a lone walk and a single. The Sox only put 7 balls in play, 3 of which were fly balls against the Rockies' starter. The math says that won't work, but what can you do? More to the point was a disappointing effort against the Colorado pen. Buchholz and Grilli aren't world beaters and aside from a couple nice curves from the latter, I didn't see anything that impressive from either. Fuentes gives every right handed batter a ton of time to see his fastball and didn't have much of an out pitch except for his loopy curve. I still like how we match up with basically everyone once the starters are gone, but you can't always win games in the waning innings. It happened Friday but not tonight. C'est la vie.
My biggest concern right now for the team is Q. He's lost his exclamatory marker for now and Hawk kept talking about some hand problems. He's in a dire stretch; I would really like to see him get a couple games rest after Thome gets back into the lineup.
This recap would also be incomplete without a little bitching about The Penguin's play behind the plate. He was sloppy on a couple balls in the dirt that led to free bases for the opposition and his double clutch on a pitch out that should have caught Taveras dead red was beyond aggravating. Clint Hurdle was "traditional" as DJ called it with his use of the normal grab bag of small ball tricks and do dads. "Predictable" I'd call it and Ozzie probably agrees. AJ gets my Sad Face of the Game. :(
Oh yeah, John Danks was masterful. His stuff was fantastic and he embarrassed a couple very good hitters. I'm not to the point where I expect greatness from him (pessimism and anxiety are hallmarks of my approach to sports fandom, particularly when watching on tv), but this outing was such a pleasure to watch that I can't wait for him to take the hill again. What an outstanding job by the organization all around, not to mention Mr. Danks. Johnny seems to be incredibly heady and adapts on the fly exceptionally well. His excellent season to this point might explain Pete's absence. My guess: he's either constantly running back to the Walgreens for more tissues or outright stalking Danks.
Okay, let's end this verbose labyrinthine mess with a note about the rubber match tomorrow. Aaron Cook's line for the year bodes poorly for us. He gives up very few line drives and fly balls. We won't K as much, but it will be difficult to get good lift on Cook's sinker.
- Jeeves' live blogged the game and has a few choice stats, one notably about BA's recent torrid pace.
- Jack Egbert's last 3 starts (scroll down for game log): 19 IP, 21 K, 1 BB, 17 H, 3 ER. He may be ready.