Games » Chicago White SoxJul11
Well, you don’t have to worry about the White Sox getting some big free agent, clearly they’re spending all their money on fireworks. What was it, like nineteen home runs? It all became a blur after awhile. Anthony Lerew got the spot start when Zack Greinke was scratched because of a ‘tweaked’ shoulder. If the All-Star game needs someone to throw Home Run Derby, they’ve got a candidate.
The temptation is to covet what the White Sox have: power hitting and instant runs. Maybe if you play in Comiskey and have the payroll, but the Royals play in Kauffman and don’t. The idea is to build a team that gives you an advantage in your stadium and Kauffman’s built for speed, not power.
To me, this series didn’t demonstrate the need for power; it demonstrated the difficulty of making a run at the playoffs with four bottom-of-the-rotation-type starters.
Callaspo’s mental mistake…
In the 2nd inning, with one down, Billy Butler on third and Alberto Callaspo on second, Mike Aviles hit a sacrifice fly to center field. Butler tagged and scored. Unfortunately, Alberto also tried to tag and advance to third.
That’s the wrong play. With one down, the runner on second goes halfway on a fly ball to the outfield. If the play isn’t made, he can score. If the ball’s caught, the runner is still in scoring position with two outs. The White Sox ran the defense correctly, saw Callaspo trying to advance and got him out easily.
Outstanding Defensive Plays…
Three more for Yuniesky Betancourt. Give that cat no time to think and he’s a hell of a shortstop. (He still does odd stuff on the field and doesn’t make some plays you’d think he should, but there seem to be less of those and more of the spectacular ones.)
Jason Kendall blocked another pitch with a runner on third (like it made a difference) and Mike Aviles turned in a nice play at second (although both he and Butler didn’t dive for ground balls that looked possible to knock down…when you’re on the right side of the infield you can knock down balls and still have a chance for an out because of the short throws).
Kendall also got points for throwing out a runner and seems to have solved the problem of his throws tailing off to the right. It had to do with Jason’s back foot being over-rotated to the right.
How the heck do you suppose they ever figured that out? On the other hand, plenty of people who watch me have pointed out my politics are over-rotated to the left.
More on Guillen…
OK, Jose Guillen was healthy enough to hit a single and a home run, but looked hobbled as he ran. Maybe the wrap on his leg was too tight. Zack Greinke missed this start because he ‘tweaked’ his shoulder. The team’s top three pitchers have now missed starts due to physical problems.
I say that because nobody’s ever ‘hurt’ or ‘injured’ anymore. They ‘tweak’ things, experience ‘discomfort’ or have some ‘tightness.’ I once stood at the back of a press conference while a manager denied a player was injured over and over again, insisting he was ‘day to day’. The press conference ended, the manager walked up to me, laughed and said, “He’s hurt.”
I asked why he’d denied it to the press (at that point I wasn’t the press, I was a cartoonist) and he said why give his opponents information that could be helpful? If the opposition thought the player was available, they had to account for him.
Backhand when you can…
Billy Butler made a backhand pick on a throw in the dirt and it reminded me of a lesson on playing first from Russ Morman: play short hops to the backhand side whenever possible. That way your palm is facing the ground and the ball will tend to bounce up and stick. If you play it to whatever the hell side the side that isn’t your backhand side is (forehand?) your palm is facing the sky and the ball will tend to pop up and out.
I love those little details that make the professional player professional.
The All-Star break…
I’m looking forward to it also. I’m not sure if I’ll write anything this week, but I will be working on a piece that breaks down what Ron Polk’s system and watching every game has taught me so far.
Look for it in the paper and on this website next weekend.