Tagged: Ozzie

July 31 Postgame – Bullpen and Offense Combine for Big Sox Win

What a day for the White Sox! They acquire Jake Peavy, lose their starter for tonight’s game in the process, only have the bullpen available against the Yankees’ offense, and they go on to win the game. The win puts Sox back into 2nd place and back in the A.L. Central race after losses by both the Tigers and Twins.

D.J. Carrasco had a rough start when he failed to cover 1B on what should have been an easy out on the first play of the game, but was decent enough in the next few innings. I normally criticize Ozzie Guillen for his bullpen choices, but I was very happy with the way it was managed. I’m not sure if Bobby Jenks was available tonight. I was at the game last night and was upset when Jenks wasn’t called in to close the game, but later learned he was out due to kidney stones. If he was available, I might have had Dotel pitch one less inning and fit Bobby in with a big lead before being thrown into another close situation. 
The Sox offense had a great approach tonight. They were down early, but still looked for base hits and didn’t try to solve everything with one big swing. The Sox also used speed with a double-steal (which included a successful steal of home) and took advantage of walks. Carlos Quentin also looked very good tonight. He seems to have started coming along recently and really boosted the offense with his home run (along with his double and walk). 
Overall, the Sox looked impressive with a big win against a very good team during tough circumstances!
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July 24th Postgame – Sox Blow Golden Opportunities, Go 0-2 in the DH

The Sox follow ecstasy with disappointment today after losing both games of the double-header. They now sit 2 games behind Detroit in the standings.

Bartolo Colon did his job tonight. Colon delivered a quality start, but the offense couldn’t pay him back. The Sox had no situational hitting tonight while facing a pitcher they should have hit. This was a blast from the past that Sox fans did not want to see: hit a home run or two, take yourself out of innings (seen when Ozzie entrusted Wise with a hit and run early in the game) and sputter until the end of the game. Castro also hurt the Sox when he couldn’t bring in runners in scoring position with less than 2 outs late in the game. 
I have another gripe with Ozzie and his handling of the bullpen, AGAIN. Like I said last week, Scott Linebrink has proven that he can not be trusted. Why in the world would he be the first guy you go to in a tie game in the 8th inning? Let them beat your best! Let’s go back in time:
– July 17th – Sox vs. Orioles – Linebrink is brought into a 6-3 game. He gives up a hit to Roberts and a HR to Jones to make it 6-5. Linebrink gives up another hit, but gets out of it. The next day, July 18th, the Sox lead 4-1, Buehrle gives up a couple hits in the 8th, Adam Jones is up, and who does Ozzie bring in? Linebrink. Jones quickly singles, Linebrink is pulled, and Thornton comes in to save the day with the bases loaded. So Linebrink was brought in to face Adam Jones, who had homered off of him the night before?
– July 20th – Sox vs. Rays – Sox lead 4-3 in the 8th. Linebrink is called upon to relieve Gavin Floyd. Linebrink gets an out but gives up a hit and a walk, and again, Thornton is called upon to save Linebrink and Ozzie (and he is successful). 
-Tonight – Sox vs. Tigers – Linebrink is called on in the 8th to relieve the starter against the top of the order. He gets an out and then proceeds to load the bases. Again, Thornton is called upon to save the day, but is not perfect this time, and walks in the deciding run before getting out of the inning.
These are examples of Ozzie using Linebrink in big situations. Why? These are situations that used to go to Dotel, Thornton, or both. Dotel has his faults, but I trust him much more than Linebrink. I know that Dotel was used in Game 1 today, but honestly, I would have much rather wasted Linebrink in Game 1 once it was known that Contreras turned in a decent outing and you had no idea what you were going to get from Colon in a big game for the Sox. Linebrink has now suffered his 5th loss of the year. 3 of those losses have come against the Tigers…

July 20th Pregame – White Sox bring up Quentin, send down Anderson; Rays come to town

The Carlos Quentin is back…and it comes at the expense of Brian Anderson. Let’s start off with Quentin. Obviously, sticking Quentin in the middle of the order is going to help both the entire lineup and the bottom of the order. It’ll be interesting to see how Carlos does. The general belief is that he is still banged up, but the only way he’ll be able to play is to tough it out and play through pain. Because of this, Sox fans probably shouldn’t expect the MVP performance of last year, but he is still a welcome addition. 

Mark Gonzales, White Sox beat writer, has the lineup today per his Twitter account (http://twitter.com/MDGonzales/status/2743867038): 

Podsednik – LF
Ramirez – SS
Dye – RF
Konerko – 1B
Pierzynski – C
Quentin – LF
Beckham – 3B
Getz – 2B Nix – 2B (Update: Not sure if Getz was scratched or if Mark just had it wrong)
Fields – DH
Floyd – SP
Quentin starts off hitting 6th, which is a nice move since the Sox offense has been doing well recently and too much pressure isn’t thrown onto Carlos. I am a little surprised he isn’t a DH tonight. Thome is sitting against a lefty (even though he is red hot. Ozzie loves those %s…). Tonight the Sox face the talented David Price, who showed everyone what he had during last year’s playoff run. Price hasn’t won a game on the road this year, and has been roughed up in a few of his starts, but is coming off a good start. 
Let’s face it, the Sox offense has been fine recently. If the Sox want to win games, the pitching has to step it up. Floyd beat the Rays in Tampa this year, but has had his share of struggles. He has been good at home, and his great June showed hope of a return to last season’s form, but he has been average in his two starts in July (though his last start in Minnesota was better than his stats lead on). 
Now, back to Quentin…there has been speculation these past weeks about who would be the roster casualty, and it’s Brian. For many Sox fans, this is a tough pill to swallow. The move makes me wonder about Ozzie playing favorites and having some personal problem with Anderson. Since Anderson, a great defender, was slated to be the CF heir in 2006, he has battled Rob Mackowiak, Darin Erstad, and an older Ken Griffey Jr. for playing time. The problem with Anderson has always been his offense, but he has never really gotten a chance to prove himself. He had a tough start at the plate, just like Gordon Beckham when he came up, but Beckham got time and came out of his hitting woes in a fury. Now if you compare Dewayne Wise to Brian Anderson, you start to really wonder why this decision was made. Here are their stats this year:
Career numbers tell the same story. Anderson is also a good base runner and a much better defender. In fact, he has been used as a late game defensive replacement many times since 2005. Remember, Quentin in LF also moves Podsednik, who is not the strongest defender, to CF. Wouldn’t it be smarter to keep a guy like Anderson on the team…? Something’s not right here…

July 18th Postgame – Sox squeak by Orioles

The Orioles’ rookie pitched himself a good game today, but one has to think that his psyche was rattled by the error in the 5th inning. Bergesen was cruising along until the error occurred. Sox hitters then followed with 6 straight hits (7 if you count the next half inning, since the 5th ended with a play at the plate). The 4 runs proved to be just enough. Bobby Jenks made things interesting, but saved the game. Mark Buehrle was his usual self, getting himself into a little trouble early, settling down, and then finding his rhythm to work to be both effective and efficient.

Today’s questionable Ozzie decision regards his use of the bullpen. Why in the world would you bring in Scott Linebrink to face Adam Jones after that matchup resulted in a home run last night? Even when you ignore the fact that Linebrink has been less than trustworthy during crucial moments, it’s a weird decision.
Other than Linebrink, there’s not much to complain about today. Good teams make the opposition pay for an error, and the Sox did that in this game. It may have not been pretty at times, but in the end, the team scored more runs than it gave up and Sox fans will take a win any way they can get it.

July 12th Pregame, Sox in Minnesota

Quite simply, this is a game the Sox should win. Baker is a pitcher the Sox should light up, and Buehrle is an All-Star. 

Again, Ozzie puts Podsednik in center, which worries me since Buehrle loves to rely on his defense. I’m sure Ozzie is testing this alignment for when Quentin returns, but the Dome seems to be the worst place for a test run. Also, with Anderson’s great game yesterday, one would hope he’d earn another start and more playing time. Hopefully the offense scores enough to ease the Sox into victory. 
Lineups:

July 9th Postgame – Sox lose to Indians 10-8

This loss really frustrated me. Ozzie shot the Sox in the foot too many times with his decisions today . I’m not going to pretend to be a baseball genius, but everything played out exactly as I expected it too. Trust me, I took no pride in being right, it was actually frustrating as hell! But yes, for a while I’ve been mad about the same decisions that took place in the game today:

-The decision to start Clayton Richard: I don’t know what Clayton Richard has shown that tells the Sox he deserves more starts. Aaron Poreda was called up, give the kid a shot and use him! Why else is Poreda up? Too often the Sox misuse their prospects and make their jobs much harder than they should be. We take Poreda away from his regular starts and use him here and there. We bring up Beckham and say ‘here kid, and learn a new position while you’re at it’. We platoon guys when they should be starting (who remembers Anderson vs. Mackowiak?). Anyways, enough painful memories, and back to, well painful memories…Clayton Richard. There was the short period after the Peavy trade where Richard had some trade value, but you just knew he had no where to go but down, and the plummet continues. I mean, who didn’t see this coming?

– Following up Richard with Carrasco: Carrasco has decent stats this year, but I don’t know what tells Ozzie that Carrasco could be the stopper or that he should be used in some sort of long-man role. I could see a team using Carrasco when they concede a blowout or are running thin and really need to give other relievers some rest, but Ozzie seems to think much more highly of him. Of course, Carrasco then goes on to give up more runs. Needing that bullpen guy to stop the bleeding is very important when a team tries to come back and the Sox failed to do it twice today.

(Poreda is finally brought in, does his job, and is then pulled…)

– Octavio Dotel: I have a love-hate relationship with Octavio Dotel. I think Ozzie Guillen is just in love with him. He loves to use him, and seems to like to do it in any situation possible. The one situation I hate to see is when Guillen brings Dotel into the game in the 6th. Ozzie has loved to do this in 09 and I absolutely hate it. This means that the bullpen will now have to handle 4 innings of outs, meaning that it’s likely that either all of Dotel, Thornton, Linebrink, and Jenks will be used, or that one of those guys will go more than one inning. Now, using simple odds, how likely is it going to be that so many bullpen guys are all going to be ‘on’ on a given night? And how comfortable are you when any of those guys goes more than one inning? Would it kill to have a guy like Poreda go one more inning?

Anyways, Dotel comes in and promptly gives up a run, which again hurts the comeback momentum. It was only the top of the 6th, but the momentum effect was clear and I already felt like the Sox were done, which is a sad statement against the Indians’ bullpen.

So, the Sox go on to lose 10-8. My gripes  sound like second-guessing if you don’t know me, but if you do know me, you’ll know that I’ve been harping on these points for weeks (take my word for it 🙂 ). So tonight you’ve learned that I hate:
-using Dotel early or ‘handing it over to the bullpen’ in the 6th
-using Carrasco in a meaningful role
-continuing to count on Richard when you have a guy like Poreda
-and now a new one, using pinch hitters against closers (This was done today with Wise. Again, not the first time Ozzie has done this in 09. Guys don’t see a pitch all day and then they’re asked to hit off a closer? Not to mention it’s fricken Dewayne Wise…)

I don’t hate Ozzie Guillen. No manager will be perfect and no one would be able to please every fan, but I have to continue to question the way Ozzie handles the pitching staff and rotation. I really believe he blew it today and this was a win the Sox should’ve had against a bad team. The one positive is that the offense did try to come back and did score 8 runs. The bad news is that it was done against a bad pitcher and it didn’t continue against a bad bullpen.