Thursday, July 10, 2008

No Run Support for Buehrle: Sox - Royals Game 3

We had two consecutive games in which comebacks were needed and attained. What were the odds that we would get lucky three times? Of course, the irony comes in the differences between the three games. While in the first two, the pitchers were struggling and the Sox had plenty of time to even the score, in this third game, Buehrle had a great start, and the team had to pull together at least three runs in one inning. Lucky the Twins gave us that 3.5 game cushion before, because in a disappointing game, the White Sox lose to the Royals 1-4, taking us back to our 2.5 game divisional lead. So, what went wrong?

Buehrle is not to blame. He can get out of sticky situations, and can strand runners. Buehrle was a good pitcher and had the 8 strike-outs today to prove it. However, no one can win without backup. Two runs are by no means bad. Two runs are only bad if batters can’t perform. Other than the complete lack of offense, the problem started with the decision to keep Buehrle into the eighth. If you’re planning to win from one run, I thought before the seventh started that today was not a day to keep Buehrle late into the game. Sure, the bullpen was tired after being so solicited, but such a game needs a fresh pitcher to keep the home team from scoring. Instead of bringing Russel or Thorton in right away, Ozzie only brought in a new pitcher after two runs had been scored. And then, it was Dotel, not either of the aforementioned. You can’t expect three spectacular days from Dotel. As I suspected, though he pitched well, he didn’t perform as needed. Boone Logan couldn’t stop the team from scoring again, either. He gave up a hit and the final nail in the Sox coffin.

There was one error placed on the White Sox, but the defense was much too sloppy today. Ramirez was as spacey (Sophisticated choice of words, right?) on second as he was at bat. Unfortunately, it was the wrong day to feel tired or “off” in any way. I don’t remember Swisher catching ANY balls today. He was late to mobilize, off the mark, and made bad choices (about being deep or shallow) almost every time. Maybe I’ve gotten used to Swisher on first base, but Konerko, too, just seemed stiff today.

What went wrong offensively? Greinke was a great pitcher, to start. He matched Buehrle almost every inning. (His manager, on the other hand, pulled him out a full inning earlier.) Konerko, Swish, Cabrera, and Thome got hits, but didn’t have the support to get further than first base. JD had a double and a solo home run, but no one else could get past Greinke. Were the men fatigued or just no match for good pitching?

Well, losses happen. Hopefully, the players can shake it off. The biggest disappointment must be that despite a great game, Buehrle can’t pick up a win.

Tomorrow at 7:05, Gavin Floyd pitches in the opener against the Texas Rangers.

No comments: