Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Slaughter in the Fifth: Sox - Twins Game 2

A day late and a dollar short. That pretty much sums up today’s game. Or, at the very least, Nick Swisher’s home run in the very last inning, with two outs and a 3-2 count. He brought the score to 6-5. For a short few seconds, there was a glimmer of hope. Before Carlos Quentin ground out to the short stop. So, we find ourselves only .5 games ahead of Minnesota, on a 3-game losing streak, only half-way through our road-trip. Well, at least they put up a fight today.

Clayton Richard was the starting pitcher today. Only his second major league game, but I had high hopes. He had a great first inning, with an amazing catch by B.A., he had a great 2nd inning, and kept the Twins off the board through the end of the 4th. I felt like a little kid who found a stray kitten in his yard. You know your parents are going to say no, but you have to whine, “Can we keep him?” I would take him over Contreras any day. His fifth inning, though. It was just lethal. Two walks plus Mauer and Morneau (Morneau with the bases loaded only had to get a double to get the score quickly to 5-4) coming to bat quickly hammered nails into Clay’s coffin. Still, I have to admit, I would still take him over Contreras. He was changed for Carrasco, who was then switched for Thornton in the bottom of the 7th, who got 2 quick outs in a solid start for him. Dotel continued his streak of successful outings with a perfect inning.

I was excited even before this game started today, having found out that Swish would be sitting out and angry-gum-chewer B.A. would be taking over C.F. I was right to be excited. He showed off his great defense once again and picked up a solo home run. His first two at-bats weren’t great, but there was a balk in there that was as good as a bunt, or sacrificed fly. Of course, while I was excited to see Brian, I wasn’t too excited to see Toby Hall. His last two or three games were fine, but how could they sit A.J. when he was the only one to have hit well yesterday? He got himself a hit in there, a hit that got Ramirez (2 hits today for him) to third when Ramirez took it upon himself to overturn Cox’s sign. Other things that extinguished my excitement? Paul Konerko. Like I said yesterday, his place in the lineup isn’t working. He wasn’t all bad today. He didn’t put any K’s in Konerko and had himself a base hit.

It really shows the rest of the team how important it is for everyone to be in top form. Dye, Thome, and Quentin were all struggling today. Quentin only got on base because of a dropped ball. The worry here is that the last time Quentin went on a slump, it was long-term and if you look back, he hasn’t done a lot of base-hitting lately. Hopefully, Thome will be back in action tomorrow because he’s really been a consistent base-runner these past couple of weeks. His .255 average coming into today was a far-cry from where he was in June, and I don’t want that to go away. Dye usually slumps for two days, so he’ll be back soon. He carries our team most days, and deserves the recognition.

Now, I am going to do something drastic and dedicate a whole paragraph to Nick Swisher. Swish came in to hit for Anderson, which I found to be the definition of ridiculous. I figured it would just ruin his Mohawk with helmet hair. He could have come in to hit for Konerko, but you’re benching Anderson after he just hit a homer? Are you kidding? In his first at-bat (the second made a home-run happen), he must’ve seen about 11 pitches. Poor OC ran back and forth like crazy on every pitch only to see Nick fly out. Now, if you look at guys that draw more than 8 pitches from guys, it’s usually setting up for a homer, a big hit, or a walk. Even Konerko can do that. I concocted another theory in the “What Went Wrong” lab, and started thinking about Swish as a switch hitter. I really wish I could find stats somewhere about his performance on the two sides of the plate. My guess is that he’s about the same in both instances. Maybe he should stick to a side of the plate (Left, I’m guessing) and work on improving there. I know he switches to throw off the pitchers, but if he’s a good batter, he should be able to hit against them well regardless. [Ooh, and late edit, this just popped into my head!] If you take a trip through my time machine and remember my theory on Swish doing better at the plate when he's on first... well, this slump happens to coincide with the fact that he hasn't been so hot since Paulie's been back.

The Rivalries? Swish –v. Anderson today: A homer each, but Anderson is still a better fielder. Wise finally sits one out. Crede –v. Fields? 2 K’s and 2RBI on a hit bring Fields’s new tally to: 5K’s, 2RBI, 3H, 2BB, 2E. And while the RBI went up, his fielding is still sub-par. Someone tell Josh that when he’s fielding on third base, the third base coach is there to coach the runner, not to coach him. He just looks dumbfounded whenever a ball comes his way. On a lighter note, maybe I’ll add this rivalry to the tally: The English Language –v. Hawk & D.J. I know they didn’t go to school to become poets, but [warning: you might learn something!] good is an adjective, well is an adverb. As in, “he’s doing well” –v. “that was some good food.” Does bad grammar bother anyone else?

The bright side? This game was eight times better than yesterday. The bad news? Who knows what perils tomorrow will bring with Floyd pitching (I want to trust him, I really do!) and the division lead having been contracted to just .5 games.

And I have to give another plug to LifeInTheCell. "Catching Up With the Gimps" is the title of this article, and my favorite part is that it doesn't even brush on Jose Contreras- aside from the writing, of course. Well, the guys there happen to have opinions that I agree with. How do you feel about what is happening with the Sox and the series?

1 comment:

Jeeves said...

The reason AJ got the day off was because Perkins is a lefty and AJ or course bats lety.

www.baseball-reference.com should be your one stop for split stats.

Here's the direct link for his split stats lefty vs righty