Monday, July 16, 2012
Red Sox 5 White Sox 1: Dylan Axelrod Deserved Better
Much like the last two games, there was a Robin Ventura decision in the eighth inning that I've got something to say about. Unlike the last two games, I don't plan on spending the majority of this post discussing it.
It just wouldn't be fair to Dylan Axelrod.
I fully expected Dylan to get shelled tonight. I even said in the original post about Gavin Floyd's elbow that "Dylan Axelrod will get shelled in [Gavin's] place."
For the first inning of tonight's game, it seemed that I was well on my way to being super smart. Dylan needed 33 pitches to get through the first inning and seemed incredibly lucky to get out of it allowing only a run.
Then Axelrod went about taking my prediction for tonight's game and shoving it up my ass.
Not only did Dylan pitch well, he had the best start of his career, going 6.2 innings and allowing only 7 hits, 1 run and striking out 8 without handing out a single walk. He was fantastic.
He worked all over the strike zone, changed speeds, and kept a good Boston lineup off balance all night.
Then he left the game and things went to shit.
Leyson Septimo got the Sox out of a jam in the seventh by getting Jacoby Ellsbury to pop up to end the inning, but then he started the eighth inning and walked Carl Crawford and David Ortiz to start the inning. He finished it off by allowing a three-run homer to Adrian Gonzalez.
Now here's where my questioning of Robin comes in. Personally, if I'm managing the White Sox, I'm sending Matt Thornton out there to start the eighth to face those three lefties. Robin didn't, and while I didn't agree with the decision, I'm not exactly angry about it either.
Something a lot of folks on Twitter didn't seem to understand when I shared those sentiments.
Listen, I wasn't happy that Septimo stayed out there and got shelled. Why would I be? That being said, I completely understand why Ventura left Septimo out there.
It was a tie game, and the prospect of extra innings was a definite possibility. So if you bring Thornton in to a 1-1 game and he doesn't give up any runs and the game goes to extras, you're left with only one lefty in the bullpen against a left-handed lineup. Not the best position to be in.
Meanwhile if you leave Septimo in and he does his job, then you've got Thornton still available when all those lefties come up again in the tenth inning.
The only thing that went wrong was that Septimo didn't do his job. He did what rookies are going to do from time to time, and it's important to remember that Thornton is the only non-rookie in the bullpen right now.
This isn't Robin Ventura's fault. So it's incredibly unfair to blame Ventura if one of those rookies makes a rookie mistake.
And trust me, I hate losing this game too, but it's only one game. We still have 72 of these things to go.