October 22, 2005
BASEBALL: One For The White Sox
A few random thoughts on a good, solid Game One:
*Well, I guess the White Sox' record of not facing a healthy #1 starter continues. Those are the breaks people forget three years later when they're trying to remember how the heck that team won the World Series.
*It was a wierd sort of deja vu sitting with my 8-year-old son watching Clemens go out of a big game early - I remembered back when I was in college, seeing Clemens get ejected from the deciding game of the ALCS for arguing balls and strikes, or back to when I was 15, watching Clemens and Dwight Gooden both get shelled early in Game Two of the World Series. On a related note, I loved the graphic showing that the White Sox' GM, manager and coaches had more career at bats vs. Clemens than their players.
*They don't give points for style - it counted just like Albert Pujols' moonshot - but it's pretty hard to hit a less impressive home run than Mike Lamb's shot to tie the game at 1-1 - not only did it clear the fence by just a foot or so, it was caught pretty much on the fly by a middle-aged woman in the first row.
*Dumbest quote of the night, from Joe Buck: "Even with the DH, the White Sox are showing they are not getting away from small ball in the World Series." Yeah, funny how an American League team adjusts to playing with the DH.
*I really felt bad for poor Jeff Bagwell facing Bobby Jenks in the 8th inning - here Bagwell has had shoulder surgery and barely swung a bat against live pitching in months, and he's facing a guy throwing 100 mph heat. Two or three years ago he would have put a heater like that in orbit, but now, after Jenks' first pitch, Bagwell had a distinct look on his face that said "I'd really rather be watching that pitch from a recliner in my living room."
UPDATE: Laurence Simon is checking the warranty.
Good commentary, if you aren't a sports writer for other than your blog, you should be. You had more thoughtful and interesting analysis than I see out of a lot of the big guys.
OK, I spent some time looking at your site and read "About Me." I am glad you decided to do sports writing on your blog... I will be a regular visitor in the future.
I found some of your other commentary even more interesting.
What did you think of Jurassic Carl bunting in the 5th? I understand the smallball thing, but it's the 5th inning and you are taking the bat out of the hands of your #5 (and probably #6) hitter's hands. If Everett is feeling so bad that bunting makes sense in this spot, why is he playing in the first place? (I hated it, can you tell? though not as much as Buck and McCarver fawning all over Guillen for sticking to his strategy...)
The bunt is to take away the double play. 2nd and 3rd with 1 out is better than only 3rd with two outs. A long fly gets a run in with the former situation. Houston countered by intentionally loading the bases. The Sox trade an out for a runner. Credit to Houston for getting the double play.
I understand the theory, I just don't like it in the 5th inning with your #5 guy. If he's more likely to GIDP then to get a hit, why is he your #5 hitter?... Additionally, it's not just an out for a runner, its also a substantially weaker hitter at the plate. (whether Everett's physical condition is such that AJ is actually a better option at this point is another debate, but see my earlier comment...) Meanwhile, a crooked number there essentially ends the game. And when was the last time Carl bunted?
Runners on first and second with nobody out is my favorite time to bunt. With the Chisox line-up the only batters I would NOT have bunt in that situation are Dye and Konerko. Bunting the runners over is smart baseball. You avoid the doubleplay.
If you bunt in that situation Houston walks the next batter to set up the double play, as they did successfully. To me, you let Everett swing the bat in that situation, especially so early in the game. Runners at 1st and 2nd, nobody out and Carl Everett at the plate? Swing away.
To me the worst call was Garner using Bagwell as the DH. He appeared over-matched in every at-bat.
Pooh, you play with what you have. Sure the Sox could use a better #5. Where are they going to get him?
Dwilkers, I dunno, Bagwell had a .500 OBA. It doesn't matter how you get on base, only that you get there.
One further thought about bunting. The most likely outcome from any single at bat is an out. sacrificing increases the odds of something productive happening.