Games » Chicago White SoxJun28
See? I told you they were better. (Well, actually, a lot of other people told ME they were better and then I told you, but I’ll be happy to grab some credit in here somewhere.) They beat Stephen Strasburg, then the Cardinals two out of three and now the White Sox.
They still require too many hits to score runs (because they don’t have enough power or they aren’t fast enough, depending on your point of view), they have too many guys in the starting rotation that are bottom of the rotation guys on a good team, but on any given night they can give the best teams a fight.
A lot of people have asked about this project and it’s taken me awhile to figure out what I’m doing here. It’s not sabermetrics, it’s not traditional sports reporting, it’s something else: analyzing the way the game is played and the way these particular players are playing it.
And by that standard, the 2010 Royals are better. (Now watch them go on a 10-game losing streak.)
I dig the sideburns and the fauxhawk, but I especially dig any pitcher who works fast and stays aggressive. I don’t understand any pitcher who doesn’t. (OK, there are times a pitcher wants to slow the whole circus down or work out of the zone, but that’s a tactic used on occasion, not a fulltime approach).
All his teammates, the umpires, parking lot attendants, usherettes and ballgirls want a pitcher to work fast and throw strikes. Lerew does…or at least did last night. (I’ve only seen the guy throw three times.) Watch a pitcher after giving up a home run and it will tell you a lot. If he starts to nibble, someone needs to explain the concept of ‘odds’ to him. If he stays aggressive, you’ve got a keeper. (Of course, if he gives up another home run, you might have a problem instead of a keeper). Lerew gave up a bomb and came right back to throw strikes to A.J. Pierzynski.
Speaking of Pierzynski…
A.J. tried to use one of those strikes to ‘Charlie Brown’ Lerew (a line drive that undresses the pitcher on its way back through the box). I wasn’t going to give Anthony outstanding defensive play points just for trying to keep the ball off his lips, but a few replays convinced me there was athletic skill there, not just blind panic.
(Side note: I once asked Dan Quisenberry if he was considered a good defensive pitcher and he said, “I panic in the right direction.” So THAT’S the key. I’ve got the panic part down; it’s the right direction that’s killing me.)
Mike also got points for recognizing that Willie Bloomquist’s infield single was going to require the third baseman to charge in, leaving third unprotected. Aviles was able to advance from second to third on ball hit in front of him. (Mike should lose points for his “check swing, THEN pretending the pitch almost hit him” performance, but we don’t have a ‘bad acting’ category).
Willie Bloomquist for rounding first too far on a single and getting caught off base. You’ve got to like aggressive base running, but it happened with nobody out. It would be more understandable if there had been two outs and he was trying to get into scoring position, but with ‘no outs’ the rule of thumb is: take ‘no chances’.
Yuniesky Betancourt lost points for pulling the bat back on a suicide squeeze. The Sox sniffed it out (makes you wonder if they stole a sign) and pitched out. With Aviles breaking for home when the pitcher’s foot hits the ground (the timing on a suicide), Betancourt needs to do everything he can to make contact. That includes throwing the bat at the ball…or his helmet…or himself…anything. Otherwise, the play becomes an ‘assisted suicide squeeze.’
More system scoring…
Scott Podsednik lost points for getting ‘picked off’ but as I’ve pointed out before, it was probably a runner going on ‘first movement’ on a left-handed pitcher. Ron Polk told me it was important to not change the way I was scoring in the middle of the season, so Scott’s losing points, but if I had it to do over again, I’d probably score this differently.
Victor Marte got points for a double play assist, but he just had the ball go off his glove to Betancourt. I considered not giving him points, but maybe he slowed the ball down enough to make a difference.