This last week has been pretty tough on the White Sox and their fans. The 3 1/2 game lead has shrunk to just a half game. There have been plenty of reasons for this.
The offense has stopped hitting. The Sox have scored 8 runs in their 5 losses since last Saturday. If you're not scoring runs, there is a good chance you aren't going to win. In the past 7 days, only Alejandro De Aza (.852), Kevin Youkilis (.713) and Alex Rios (.710) are OPSing .700 or better. Paul Konerko has become an opposite field singles hitter. Adam Dunn has two homers in the last 7 days, but only one other hit. Gordon Beckham has basically disappeared (.383 OPS). Yes, the White Sox faced Justin Verlander. They also faced Aaron Cook, Felix Doubront, Clay Buchholz, Luke Hochevar and won a low scoring affair against Luis Mendoza. It's not like we've been facing the mid 90s Braves pitching staff. A few of these guys better start hitting the ball because our pitching staff isn't going to hold the opponents to 1 run or less too often.
Speaking of the pitching, Gavin Floyd came down with an injury at a bad time, which put a strain on the pitching staff. The only thing is, Dylan Axelrod, Philip Humber, Jose Quintana and Jake Peavy performed anywhere from pretty good to awesome. Unfortunately, the bullpen let the Sox down on multiple occasions this week. We all know about Matt Thornton's struggles on Thursday night, but he wasn't the only one who had a bad week. Lets take a look at how all of our rookies performed:
Leyson Septimo: He entered the game on Monday and got Jacoby Ellsbury to pop up to end the inning. He was brought out for the 8th and issued walks to Carl Crawford and David Ortiz before Adrian Gonzalez hit an opposite field homer to blow the game open.
Nate Jones: Came in for Septimo and gave up two hits and a wild pitch in his inning, giving the Red Sox another run, taking them out of the save situation.
Pedro Hernandez: He got the call on Wednesday night, and then proceeded to get hammered. When the smoke cleared, Hernandez had gone 4 innings and had given up 8 runs.
Eduardo Escobar- Got the chance to start on Thursday for a hobbled Youkilis. Thornton got the ground out he needed in the 9th inning, but Escobar made a terrible throw to 2nd base and was lucky to get a force out. The Sox were unable to turn a double play and that ended up hurting badly.
Addison Reed- After a fine job on Tuesday night, Reed was called upon to hold down the 1-0 lead with 2 men on and one out on Thursday. Cody Ross immediately put one over the monster for the walk off homer.
Brian Omogrosso- Last night he was brought in to pitch the 8th inning and hold the game at 4-2. He had to face the heart of the Tigers order and Miguel Cabrera immediately doubled and Prince Fielder singled to put men at first and third with nobody out. Thankfully, Omogrosso got Delmon Young to bounce to Youkilis who gunned out Cabrera at the plate. While his performance isn't as bad as the others, he still put the Sox in a bad position and needed to be rescued by Donnie Veal. (By the way, where in the hell have they been hiding this guy... he looked nasty and struck out the two men he faced).
Then we have the rookie who has the most explaining to do...
Robin Ventura- The rookie manager continued to put guys in position to fail all week long. Septimo got out of the 7th inning on Monday, but Ventura brought him back out to pitch the 8th. Oops. He made the call to punt away Wednesday's game and start Hernandez in order to give Jose Quintana and Jake Peavy an extra day of rest and even though they pitched well, the Sox are still 0-2 after the Maury Buford game. He took out Quintana and replaced him with Thornton, who has never shown an ability to close down games, instead of leaving Quintana in or bringing in Reed to start the inning. He also let Escobar bat with two men on and two outs in the 9th inning instead of putting up Youkilis. Ventura brought in Omogrosso in a relatively close game to hold the score with two of the best hitters in the AL coming up.
Robin did a great job in the first half. He earned an A in my midterm grades. After the break though, he's been making a lot of questionable moves. Hopefully with Crain and Floyd reportedly ready to come back, things will settle back down.
During this last week though, our rookies looked like rookies and that isn't a good thing when trying to make the playoffs. It's time for a few of them to disappear. Hopefully Kenny can make that happen in the next 10 days.