Someone needs to call the Keystone Kops to tell them that we found their missing personnel in the Sox bullpen. Think it’s an overreaction? Read on, or watch the archived game broadcast.
Friday night was a golden opportunity for the Sox. Kansas City beat the Twins 8-1, so the Sox could have regained first place with a win over the Indians.
Would have, could have, should have: The Sox didn’t.
Ozzie’s post game interview session revealed his own frustrations with the Sox. He said the team should be embarrassed because he was embarrassed. Ozzie mentioned how there were 40,000 Sox fans in the stadium rooting for the team, and the team let them down. He said the team couldn’t have played worse if they had tried to, and described the team’s play as “stupid.”
What made the biggest impression on me was when Ozzie mentioned that getting angry wasn’t working and that he was going to just start laughing. He was getting tired of trying to motivate the team, and if he didn’t just start laughing he was worried his health was going to suffer.
In all honesty, it reminded me greatly of the struggles that I’ve had trying to get my fourteen year old to do his homework, and Ozzie’s dealing with grown men.
Finally, Ozzie said the Sox had to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves how good they were, himself included.
What happened to cause this kind of a post-game response? In a word: bullpen. There were hit batters, four pitch walks, a balk, two wild pitches, and a run walked in. This wasn’t baseball. It was a farce. Picture the Bad News Bears after they’d gone through puberty. That was Friday night’s game.
For your convenience, I have italicized all the major mistakes made by Sox pitchers on the evening so they will be easier to find. I consider major mistakes to be four or five pitch walks, balks, wild pitches, hitting batters, and walking in runs.
Danks – who has pitched his backside off for the Sox all season – started Friday and was pitching decently until the fifth, when he started off with two base hits and a four-pitch walk to load the bases. Then he gave up a single to Shin-Soo Choo which drove in two runs.
Carrasco came on with men at first and second and still nobody out, and walked the first batter he faced, Peralta, on four straight pitches to load the bases. The next batter, Garko, hit a grand slam. Carrasco took the third batter he faced, Shoppach, to a 1-2 count before hitting Shoppach with a curveball.
With Shoppach at first, MacDougal came in to face Gutierrez. MacDougal took Gutierrez to a 2-1 count before hitting him with a fastball. By some miracle, MacDougal managed to get the next three batters out.
Grand total for the fifth inning: Sox pitchers gave up six runs before recording the first out, four hits, two walks, and hit two batters.
Starting the sixth inning, MacDougal was still pitching. He walked Francisco on four straight pitches to start the inning. The next batter, Shin-Soo Choo, hit a groundball to short which forced Francisco at second. So Choo was on first with Peralta batting. After throwing ball one to Peralta, MacDougal committed a balk to advance Choo to second. Ultimately, on a 3-1 count, Peralta ultimately hit a pop up to Cabrera for out number two.
MacDougal wasn’t finished yet though. He still had a few more mistakes to make before he left the game. The next batter, Garko, saw three straight balls before seeing a strike. Garko walked on just five pitches. Shoppach was next, and MacDougal’s 2-2 pitch to Shoppach was a wild pitch, which advanced the runners to second and third. The final pitch MacDougal threw was high and inside. If Shoppach hadn’t moved, it likely would have hit him the shoulder. Of course, that was ball four, so Shoppach walked.
So now the bases were loaded with two outs. Wassermann came in to face Gutierrez, whom he promptly walked on four straight pitches to walk in a run. Mercifully, Wassermann somehow managed to strike out the next batter, Barfield, to end the nightmare that was the sixth inning.
The strangest thing about the sixth inning: Cleveland only scored one run. Despite all that bad pitching, the Indians were only capable of pushing one run across the plate. Don’t let anyone tell you miracles don’t happen, because you witnessed one right there.
The seventh inning saw Horacio Ramirez come in for Wassermann. Ramirez gave up a single to Asdrubal Cabrera, caused Sizemore to fly out, then gave up another single to Francisco. So there were men on first and third with one out. Ramirez’ 1-0 pitch to Choo was wild, and it allowed Cabrera to score from third.
Still think I’m overreacting in comparing the Sox bullpen to the Keystone Kops? The Keystone Kops could have pitched better. Seriously. We should see if they’re available. They certainly couldn’t have done a worse job.
I don’t like to single anyone out. I know MacDougal is a person who can feel just as much as anybody else. I don’t like to talk badly about anybody. That’s why I’ve avoided saying this. However, I can be silent no longer. In all honesty, I lost all patience with MacDougal last season. He was good right after he came over from Kansas City and has absolutely stunk ever since. The Sox are too good a team for MacDougal. I wanted them to send him down to Triple-A last season, and was a happy camper when they finally did. I was hoping he wouldn’t be with the team this season, but I’m not the one who makes such decisions.
If you think I’m jumping on a bandwagon here, check out my archives from May and June 2007, entitled “Cubs Baseball” and “Hallelujah!” respectively. At that time I said I wanted MacDougal sent down and was happy when they finally did send him to Charlotte.
Give the Sox offense some credit, though: they didn’t give up. After all that craziness, they still kept battling to try to win the game. However, when the bullpen puts the team in that position, it’s going to take a monumental effort to overcome it.
Ozzie wasn’t the only one who was embarrassed by Friday’s game. Let me tell you something, and I say this in all seriousness: If the Sox bullpen is going to play that badly, the Sox don’t deserve to make the playoffs. Think about it: if the White Sox embarrass themselves on a national stage, it’s going to make the team, the division, the city of Chicago and the White Sox fans look bad.
This lady really doesn’t want to see the White Sox embarrass us all on national television, but she might not have a choice: Saturday’s game will be on WGN. Vazquez will pitch on three days rest against Jackson. Please, White Sox, either play like contenders or at least die quietly to put us out of our misery.