Monday, July 21, 2008

Vazquez is not Enough: Sox - Rangers Game 1

Why is it that this team has it all wrong? When the bats are cracking, the pitching isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and when the pitchers are hot, the bats are not! Is it irony or is it just the team slipping? Well, to sum today, the Twins got spanked, the Sox got spanked, and despite the best pitching Vazquez had done in awhile, (Is anyone else having a bit of déjà vu when comparing this game to their first game at home against Oakland?) the Sox lost to the Texas Rangers 6-1.

Before I get to the game, let me plug, whose live blog matched my frustrations throughout the game. (And whose writer alerted me to the fact that Pablo Ozuna is a "player" (not as in a baseball player, but as in a ladies' man) and shares in my amusement at this fact!)

So, Javi. Poor, poor Javi. He was way off the last time he was out. And today, the man gets 10 strikeouts, only two walks, and only gives up four hits. He even got a great read on a hit and ran to first base in time for the 2nd out in the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, there was no backup from his team on the field or at bat. His fielders got themselves 2 errors today, (I know what you’re thinking, but none for Crede! It was Cabrera and Ramirez. The one on Cabrera might have been underserved, but Alexei definitely messed up.) and Wise was completely useless on the field. And the hitting! It was just a train wreck! Now, excuse me for not having anything nice to say, but good grief! Crede’s been listening to some genius whose advice has been “stop popping out by getting into double plays,” Swisher has gone back to being a big ol’ mess, and so on and so on. The only guys to get hits were Quentin (make that HR #24), Thome, Konerko (who was close to a home run, that turned into a double, that could have easily been a triple had he not been, well, Konerko), and Pierzynski got himself two hits for the night.

I could go on with the painful details of the night, but let’s just skip to the part where I tell you what I think went wrong. Now, once again, am I right or am I right for hating the Konerko-Swish-Crede combination? Sure, everyone moved down a spot due to Dye’s injury, but it’s the same big black hole. Ramirez still hasn’t gotten a day off and it’s showing in his hitting and his fielding. Ditto with Cabrera. Now, usually, they’re the Dream Team. They bare-hand balls, make perfect throws, don’t miss a beat. But, they’re just tired and it’s time for a break. And if they're not tired (I mean, didn't we JUST have the All-Star break?) then they need to feel the need to fight for their job. Bring in Uribe. He’s plenty rested. Now, Wise. Quite honestly, I feel like he was out there today because they need to justify to themselves why they kept him over Ozuna. I think Wise’s role should be back up in CF the last couple of innings the way Brian was at the beginning of the year, but certainly not a full game. Clearly, being in CF today was a job for Anderson. And to make things worse, that home plate umpire was inconsistent, and sped up the rate at which the Sox players struck out. I even thought I’d see Crede get thrown out. I’m just hoping there weren’t kids sitting close to home plate, because I’m sure everyone got an earful.

Well, the Sox need to thank the baseball gods for Minnesota’s loss today so that they could keep their slight divisional lead. If the people making the decisions don’t wake up and realize that there are changes that need to be made, who knows what will happen to this lead in the upcoming series against Minnesota. Coming up, Mark Buehrle has been shifted in the lineup to tomorrow so that the intended starter for Wednesday, Clayton Richard, could have an adjustment day since being called up from Charlotte. (Adam Russell was sent back)

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