Justin Verlander and his ace stuff and command (well okay it was a little off) proved to be no problem for our boys yesterday. And indeed, since the All Star break we've absolutely mashed. But today? Against Zach Miner? Shut. Down. And that's just how it works sometimes I guess. I don't have much insight there, since batting isn't really my thing and, to be sure, I'm perfectly content with our effort. We didn't battle as much, like yesterday, but from this contributing author's perspective, it seemed like the foulballs and good counts that were available yesterday simply weren't there today.
Baseball, it is often said though perhaps in other specific terms, is a game of failure. So it was today when Javier Vazquez ("Javy Dent") flipped the coin badly a few times and ended up with serious issues. He was giving up untimely doubles and dongs all day, even if the final line wasn't completely ugly. What I hope to examine shortly is my idea for a command metric using the pitch f/x data. Either way, the fastball seemed to be consistently finding the heart of the plate. Is there anything to be concerned about? It's hard to say. I said in the first inning that it didn't look like Javy's stuff was all there, but his offspeed stuff looked okay. It was the fastball that saw significant damage against. What to do? As a fan, there aren't too many real options. For a pitching coach, I imagine it's a matter of keeping the mechanics reined in (which I thought they were) so he can get back to finding the command we saw earlier in the season and much of last. I'm not overly concerned. These are the vagueries of pitching and, in general, predicting performance. It's a difficult task working with traditional metrics which leave "luck" in the equation. Barring further explanation, that's all we're left with sadly.
But is it really such a tough loss? We won 2 of 3 on the road and that certainly goes against the year long trend to date. These are the series results we need going forward and to lament this overly isn't taking the proper perspective. Even without further additions to the team, the White Sox are prepped to compete long term with the Twins and have a current 2.5 game lead to make good with. We stole the previous two games going bullpen against bullpen and sometimes that's what it really comes down to. We're going through a bad stretch as far as the pitching goes and those tend to even out over time. Don't get freaked, just remember what we expected going into this season and how well KW has done exceeeding our expectations in general. As I briefly admonished yesterday about Ozzie I will again about KW: he's damn good. If he decides there's nothing worth it on the market, he deserves the benefit of the doubt at this point and if it doesn't work out take heart. This is team has a committed owner, a skillful GM, a talented GM-in-waiting, and an excellent manager. Considering the heartbreak and annoying failure we've known in the past, this is pretty damn good, no?