Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Athletics 5 White Sox 4: Bunting Is Hazardous To My Health
I'm sorry that this recap took longer to get up than usual, but I was staring at my screen for a good fifteen minutes. I just didn't know what to say.
No, actually, I have plenty of things to say about this game.
It's just where the hell do I start?
So many dumb decisions and so many inexcusable mistakes, it's hard to wrap my brain around the amount of stupid that the White Sox displayed this afternoon.
What I do know is that it took 18 games for Robin Ventura to legitimately piss me off. I am not a fan of bunts over all, but there are moments when a bunt is fine in my book.
None of these moments occur when there is a runner on second base with nobody out. None. Yet Ventura did that twice on Wednesday, and the White Sox ended up with no runs to show for it. Of course, even if they had, it wouldn't have made it the right decision.
That runner, unless he's named Paul Konerko, is in scoring position at second base, so there is absolutely no point in giving up an out to get him to third base. I'd rather have three attempts to get a base hit than two attempts to get a base hit, or maybe hope for a wild pitch.
And I say that as a huge proponent of the Wild Pitch Offense.
And Ventura did it twice!
Then there was the suicide squeeze with Morel, a move I wholly supported given Morel's struggles. Sadly Morel is either an absolute idiot or just missed the sign and pulled his bat back, allowing Kosuke Fukudome to become an easy out stranded between third base and home.
Then there was Brent Lillibridge with a brain fart of his own in extra innings. Runners on first and second -- AGAIN WITH NO OUTS -- and Ventura has A.J. square to bunt.
The same A.J. that came into the game with 4 home runs and leading the team with 15 RBI.
The same A.J. that came into the game with a .340 average and an OPS of 1.022.
That's the guy Ventura had bunting. A decision I did not like, either way, but at least I could understand the purpose of trying to get two runners into scoring position.
It's just having the guy who has been one of your best hitters giving himself up that doesn't sit well with me.
The result was A.J. pulling back the bat on a ball and Lillibridge straying way too far off of second base and getting picked off for it.
Again, the result should have no effect on your feeling of the decision, but if the baseball gods hadn't sent enough signs to Ventura that he should give up the bunts on this day, maybe next time they can just kick him in the nuts and then yell "STOP BUNTING."
All of these decisions and mistakes were so horrid that the fact that Paul Konerko hit his 400th career home run in the ninth inning to tie the game up seems a distant memory. A wasted moment of greatness for Paulie.
There's no way in hell this game should have gone 14 innings. The Sox should have either won it in nine if they weren't cutting off their nose to spite their face, or the Athletics should have taken advantage of the millions of chances they were getting to finish this one off.
Neither of these teams deserved to win, but Oakland did.
Of course, it had to be in the most insulting way possible. Allowing the Sox to score 2 runs in the top of the inning before Yoenis Cespedes hit an all too predictable game-tying home run in the bottom of the inning.
A couple singles and a blooper later and this thing was mercifully over.
Unfortunately, now the Sox head home with a legit concern at closer. Hector Santiago blew his second save of the young season, and he's now allowed 4 home runs in only 7 innings of work.
That is not an acceptable rate for a closer, and the Sox have to consider the possibility of trying somebody else as closer once they return to Chicago. As horrible as this game was, this is still a team that is 10-8 on the season and just had a 4-2 road trip.
There are still a lot of things going right, and I'm just not sure you can afford to keep putting Santiago out there with the game on the line unless you want to see this strong start go to waste and watch the season possibly fall apart from there.
Whether or not Ventura makes the change, well, I hope we have a chance to find out tomorrow night against Boston. And I hope that whatever decision he makes, it works out in our favor.
Just as long as it isn't another god damned bunt.