Games » Chicago White SoxSep16
Ups and downs
The Kansas City Star
Last night was another excellent game from the Royals, though it went through several ups and downs before Eric Hosmer ended it with yet another walk-off hit. Although the White Sox stayed close and the Royals had a few hiccups, tonight we saw a young team that looked hungry to play good baseball in the final weeks of the season. They’ve all known for a while that they’re not going to the playoffs, but unlike the Sox, who in the past two nights have looked ready to finish their season over, the Royals are playing some of their best baseball of the year. Last night, they stuck through the ups and downs, hanging in there after Tim Collins gave up the two-run homer to Brent Morel that tied the game in the 8th, or after the wild pitch let A.J. Pierzynski, the leadoff hitter, on in the 9th.
They were rewarded with a classic Royals bottom of the 9th. Alex Gordon had an absolutely great at-bat, working eight pitches and a single out of Sox reliever Matt Thornton. Melky Cabrera bunted him over to second, Billy Butler got the intentional walk to fill up first and Hosmer hit a ball to deep left, just over Juan Pierre’s glove, to drive in Gordo and win the game. The young guys have worked really hard this year, they’re finally getting rewarded with a six-game win streak, and you could see it on everyone’s face as they mobbed Hosmer at home plate. Tthey are having a hell of a time out there playing good baseball.
Moose does well
In the 2nd inning, after Felipe Paulino had been given a 2-1 lead, Alejandro De Aza was on first with one out and Brent Morel was at the plate. Morel worked to a 2-2 count and fouled a few off before hitting a hard grounder to third base. Moustakas made a nice charging grab in time to turn the double play, something he has struggled with his tendency to double-clutch. Defensively, he made good on the lead given to Paulino, and then he went back out there in the 4th and hit a two-run homer to give Paulino some run support.
Moose does not so well
Salvador Perez came to the plate in the bottom of the 6th with Moose on second, Joey Giavotella on first and nobody out. Perez absolutely ripped the ball deep into the right field corner, and Moose and Gio advanced about halfway each as they watched the ball, which looked like it would either drop in the corner or just barely make it over the wall. De Aza ran the distance and made a nice grab, which appeared to surprise Moustakas because he didn’t go back to second and tag up. The ball was easily deep enough for Moose to advance to third. If he had, Alcides Escobar’s fly-out to center field in the next at-bat would have scored Moose and, eventually, won the game. Instead, Esky’s fly-out only got Moose to third, and the Royals had to wait for Hosmer’s walkoff until they could breathe easy again.
The play was costly, but I actually did not give Mike a mental mistake. It was a hard ball to read on TV with the benefit of a close camera angle, much less from standing on second. Another reason why I didn’t go too hard on Mike – he was already doing it to himself. That’s one thing you love to see from these young guys: the self-awareness and ability to recognize mistakes when they make them, and the desire to correct them next time around. This team is full of young talent, but nobody so far has acted like an Allen Iverson (“practice?”). The guys all want to be real ball players and do all the small things that are necessary to be successful, and that is the main reason that the future looks so bright for them.
In the top of the 5th, Paulino made a great, athletic play, coming forward to snag Pierre’s chopper down the first base line and tagging Pierre out. Gordon Beckham, who was on second after a single and a balk, advanced to third. Next at-bat, Alexei Ramirez hit a single and drove in Beckham. That would have put Pierre on third with his speed, followed by a single by Paul Konerko which drove Ramirez to third, and would have scored Pierre. So, if Paulino hadn’t made his play on Pierre’s chopper, the Sox would have had the tying run (at the time) on third with one down and Pierzynski at the plate. That would have changed Pierzynski’s approach and possibly allowed them to tie the game. Paulino helped himself out of his most dangerous inning all night, and it ended up being vital to the win.
Submitted by Paul Judge
Leads at first video
Doug Sisson did a terrific video for us demonstrating the lead at first base. There’s a tremendous amount of information in there and it gives you some idea of how each detail has been thought out. It doesn’t mean they’ll always do it perfectly, but there’s a plan behind what they do.
Doug was struggling with a cold (either that or he’s reaching puberty a little late in life) and his voice is breaking as he speaks, but the information he’s croaking out is well worth your time.
OK, get your mind around this one and you’ll have gone a long way toward thinking about the game like a pro: fans tend to think anything that didn’t work was a mistake, pros place a bet and live with the outcome.
When I first began managing, I was often paralyzed with indecision. I would ask myself if a move would work, and that’s the wrong question. If you won’t make a move because it might not work, you won’t make any moves but the ones forced on you, because no move works 100 percent of the time. If you don’t make a move because it might not work, you don’t steal, bunt, hit and run, send runners or change the pitcher until he’s pitched so badly you have no choice. That’s not managing, that’s cowardice. Of course, I did my managing in a men’s amateur league and when a move didn’t work I only had to hear about it from the guys at the snack bar while having a beer afterwards. Pros get to hear it from 40,000 fans, reporters and sports talk radio guys, so it was a bit easier for me to stick to my guns.
If the critics don’t know enough to realize that a situation called for a steal or a hit and run and you didn’t have the guts to do it, you won’t get criticized, so nothing is usually a pretty safe move, but it’s not good managing.
Good managers, coaches and players don’t ask themselves, “Will this move work?” The right question is, “What are my options and which one has the highest chance of success?” Then you place your bet on the highest option and live with the results.
It’s baseball logic.
Submitted by Lee Judge