On Tuesday, I looked at the White Sox bullpen and thought that Juan Minaya, Aaron Bummer and Jake Petricka were going to be the most compelling relievers remaining, if not all for fun reasons.
Rick Renteria’s bullpen usage over the two-game series with the Dodgers? Juan Minaya, Aaron Bummer and Jake Petricka for two games apiece (and Gregory Infante for an out).
So far, no surprises. Minaya took the loss in Game 1 when he gave up a leadoff single in his second inning of work, but he got the job done in his inning of origin both times. Bummer looked not yet ready, and Petricka looks like he’s dealing with a professional crisis. He has a 9.00 ERA and a 1.035 OPS allowed, and Baseball-Reference.com already says he’s 0.9 WAR below replacement.
Renteria tried the paint-by-numbers approach for his first save situation without a functioning veteran ...
“(Petricka) is one of the guys we have that’s had major-league experience with us over the last (few) years,” Renteria said. “Honestly, it was just trying to get the right-on-right (matchup). … We just continued to do it the best way we could. We have only one lefty in our pen, and we tried to do everything we could to get us through certain things. But at the end of the day, they were able to overcome that.”
... but multiple relievers is never an elegant situation for ninth innings — at least three of them, anyway. Matt Thornton was sometimes used to retire a lefty batter to start the ninth before Ozzie Guillen shifted to the regularly scheduled righty, but I can’t think of three-reliever innings that weren’t the result of panic.
I’m sure people first-guessed differently, but it’d be hindsight to scold Renteria for not sticking with Infante after the first out on Wednesday, because it’s not like Infante is anybody’s high-leverage dream. But the next idea might be to leave well enough alone if somebody records the first out, if anybody ever records the first out ever again.
In J.D. Power’s limited survey of fan satisfaction, the White Sox were the only baseball team to lead their market. The smaller crowds do probably have something to do with it...
Fan satisfaction is evaluated across seven factors (in order of importance): seating area and game experience; security and ushers; leaving the game; arriving at the game; food and beverage; ticket purchase; and souvenirs and merchandise. Satisfaction is measured on a 1,000-point scale. Additional factors that are measured but not included in the official ranking are loyalty and future intentions; team performance (on-field); and team image.
... because the security lines do back up big-time whenever there’s an event of note. That said, of all the complaints I hear about the White Sox, there’s rarely one that involves actual customer service.
The number of defensive shifts appears to have crested, and the White Sox are one of those teams caught in the adolescence of modern alignments. All the factors are more sophisticated now, and it’s going to be difficult for everybody to understand the extent to which they are working. For instance:
Maybe it's because of this — and the fact that players like Moustakas will flip their approach in response to defenses shifting on them and un-shifting — that Rick Renteria rejected the over-analysis of shift results.
“Outcomes are outcomes. They’re already actions that have taken place,” Renteria said. “We’re trying to stay ahead of the curve and ahead of the action. So it takes looking at what guys do. You have to put your eyes on what they’re doing, how their swings are evolving. What they’re trying to do against certain guys in particular situations. There’s a lot of shifts. There are defensive adjustments to those shifts in certain situations.”
In that order?
Man, Gordon Beckham isn’t even going to be the best Beckham drafted in his round anymore.