Friday, April 6, 2012
Sox K Their Way To 0-1
One day when Brent Morel has replaced Hawk Harrelson as White Sox play-by-play announcer, Steve Stone will turn to him and ask what his favorite opening day memory was as a player.
Morel's answer will be "not 2012."
On the whole, there wasn't a whole lot the White Sox offense did well on Friday. Of the 27 outs they were given, the Sox didn't even put the ball in play for 13 of them. You aren't going to score a lot of runs or win many games when 48% of your outs are strikeouts.
Morel was responsible for 4 of them. He also was the victim of a bad hop that led to a Texas run in the 7th that ended up being the winning run after the Sox had tied the game up in the 6th. Morel also picked up an error later in the game that proved to be inconsequential, but was still the cherry on a shitty sundae that was his opening day.
And while Morel will be the most popular scapegoat, he won't be the only one. Gordon Beckham struck out 3 times himself, while Alex Rios stranded 3 runners on base.
As a whole the White Sox were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. The type of stat we've become all too familiar with the last few seasons.
There was also the strike zone of home plate umpire Mike Winters, which was pretty terrible. Normally I'd say that I'm fine with an umpire expanding or shrinking his strike zone, just as long as he's consistent with it and calling it the same for both pitchers.
We know he was giving Texas pitchers a few inches off the outside corner. What we don't really know is whether or not he would have returned the favor for Sox pitchers. Most Sox fans will say he wasn't, but the truth is, the Rangers weren't taking many pitches at all. They were being overly aggressive and swinging at just about everything.
So they weren't giving Winters the chance to make the calls against them. Whether this was a factor in their game plan or not, I don't know. I just know that maybe the Sox should have adapted in the later innings when it was apparent to all.
The good news -- there actually is some -- is that outside of a few pitches to Ian Kinsler, John Danks looked pretty good today. Adam Dunn looked very much like Adam Dunn, recording a walk, strikeout and a home run in his first three at bats -- the Dunn Cycle -- and finally lining out to first in his final appearance.
There was also Matt Thornton and Addison Reed, who combined for 2 innings and didn't allow a hit. As for what this means for the closer role, I wouldn't read too much into it. Both were brought in for important innings in which the Sox couldn't afford to give up any more runs, and Robin Ventura said matchups will play a role in how he uses his bullpen this season.
So maybe Robin's actual plan for the closer role is to use whichever one of his bullpen arms he needs at the time. A very forward thinking approach that, frankly, I'd be happy to see.
If he could give that same kind of approach to having baserunners try and steal bases in front of the middle of the order, and we may not have any problems this season.