the White Sox' 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday afternoon: Starting pitcher John Danks gave up hits to seven of the first 11 batters he faced and put the team in a 4-0 hole after two innings. Not a good start at all.
Danks settled down and retired 16 in a row after that, but the damage had been done. But, if you look a little deeper, you can't help but feel like the Sox would have come back and won that game against the woeful Twins if they had just done the little things right.
For example, take a look at what happened in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Sox were trailing 4-1 at that point when catcher Josh Phegley led off the inning with a double. Here was a golden chance to get at least one run closer. No. 9 hitter Leury Garcia stepped to the plate. Not being a power hitter, Garcia needed to be thinking about hitting a ball to the right side to get Phegley over to third base with less than two out.
Apparently, Garcia was thinking nothing of the sort. He rolled over on a pitch from Minnesota lefty Scott Diamond and hit a chopper to shortstop. Compounding Garcia's poor approach at the plate, Phegley foolishly thought he could make third base on a ground ball that was hit in front of him. The Twins threw him out by half a baseline, and there went an opportunity to cut into the Minnesota lead.
Later in the inning, Alejandro De Aza reached on an error, and Alexei Ramirez hit a deep fly ball to center field. If Phegley had been standing on third base with less than two out, he would have scored on either of those two plays. But, a rotten swing by Garcia and idiotic baserunning by Phegley prevented that from happening. The Sox failed to score in the inning, and they went on to lose by one run.
We've seen the White Sox make dozens of mistakes like this throughout the season. Is it any wonder the team has a 22-33 record in one-run games this year? Some people put the blame on the manager and the coaches for this kind of repetitive buffoonery. But I'll be honest, Robin Ventura and his staff shouldn't have to tell Phegley to stay at second base when a ground ball is hit in front of him to the left side of the infield. That's Baserunning 101, something my coaches taught me in Little League. That's a lesson that should be learned long before a player reaches pro ball.
In my world, mistakes like this are the fault of the player, not the manager or a coach. You're in the major leagues; play the game right.