When examining how Robin Ventura altered his ninth-inning strategy to compensate for Addison Reed's recent string of rough outings and breakdowns, I looked back at the way Sergio Santos received the news. To sum it up in three words, it was "not without issue."
For Reed, what might be an insult is all silver lining:
"The past two games have worked out perfectly," said Reed, referring to victories Monday and Tuesday in which he pitched a total of one inning to earn two saves. "That's fine with me. As long as we're getting out of there with wins, it's fun and everyone is having a good time.
"Any time you go out there for fewer batters, it's better on your arm. It's helping me out and others."
One key difference is that the Sox have October in their sights -- the White Sox just posted their postseason ticket information -- so it would be poor form for any underperforming player to take umbrage at a solution that is working toward that collective goal. By contrast, Santos' performance at that time was a bright spot during a nonstarter of a season, so his reaction of "What gives?'" was a little more understandable.
At any rate, it's good to see job changes and position shifts handled well on both sides of the relationship.
Speaking of guys needing to catch their breath, Alejandro De Aza has hit for the cycle in his first two games back from his two-game break (6-for-9, double, triple, homer). Ventura said De Aza was out of sync, and De Aza agreed with that assessment:
"I was getting all over, roll over a lot. I was chasing pitches, jumping on the plate. But sometimes I pull off, which is not good for me.
"I feel much better."
Alex Rios wouldn't mind a day off himself, but Ventura is struggling to figure out when, saying "every time I want to give him one, it never happens."
Tonight might be another example of best laid plans going awry. It looked like he might get one tonight against Jeremy Guthrie. Then Dayan Viciedo kinda crapped the bed at the plate and in the field, and Ventura said Dewayne Wise would likely take his place. So unless Ventura wants to go with an all-lefty outfield (there doesn't seem to be an advantage with Guthrie), Rios will have to play another day.
Not that it seems to matter. Rios had three hits on Wednesday, even with Bruce Chen pitching.
"We’ve been winning, so they’re not going to stop now,’’ second baseman Gordon Beckham said. "It has value. I have no problem with it, and you know what? Whatever Robin says, we’re going to do.’’
Even if it cuts into the players’ clubhouse time in the hour leading up to the game.
"I remember balking at it [as a player], too, and you just get to that point where you’d not rather do it,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘But I’m the manager, so we do it.’’