Showing posts with label Brian Dozier. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brian Dozier. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Kyle Gibson continues mastery of White Sox

Kyle Gibson
Minnesota Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson entered Tuesday's action with an 0-5 record and a 6.05 ERA. He had struck out only 22 batters in 38.2 innings, and arm problems had limited him to just seven starts this season.

Fortunately for Gibson, the White Sox are always willing and able to tip their caps and grab some bench against struggling pitchers. So, naturally, Gibson fired seven innings of shutout baseball on Tuesday. He struck out seven and allowed just five hits as the last-place Twins (25-51) beat the Sox, 4-0.

Minnesota pitchers collected their first shutout of the season in their 76th game. Gibson is now 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA in eight career starts against Chicago. He is 4-0 with a 1.78 ERA in five career starts at U.S. Cellular Field.

The Sox ought to be ashamed of themselves. Gibson is 27-32 with 4.49 ERA in his career. He's basically a league-average pitcher, and the Sox have no excuse for allowing a mediocre pitcher they see all the time to own them in this fashion.

We could cue up the narratives about Jose Quintana (5-8) being a tough-luck pitcher, but frankly, I didn't think Quintana was that good in this loss. He went seven innings, allowing four runs on six hits with eight strikeouts. He served up two home runs to Brian Dozier that cost him the game.

Dozier's first home run was a solo shot in the second inning. His second blast was a three-run-shot in the sixth that effectively put the game out of reach, and it came after some bizarre strategy by Quintana and the Sox.

The Twins were leading 1-0 in the sixth and had a runner on third base with two outs, and Quintana threw four consecutive pitches to Joe Mauer that were nowhere near the zone. Mauer dutifully took his walk. It was quite clear Quintana was pitching around Mauer to get to Dozier.

This was a criminally stupid choice because Dozier is far and away the hottest Minnesota hitter right now. The Twins second baseman is on a 10-game hitting streak, during which he is hitting .439 (18 for 41) with five home runs, two triples and three doubles.

Mauer, in contrast, is in a 5-for-34 slump (.147) over his past nine games. His batting average is down to .267, and the Twins are basically paying him $23 million a year to be a singles hitter. His days of being among baseball's best hitters are now years in the past.

What baseball world are we living in where it makes sense to pitch around the ice-cold Mauer to get to the red-hot Dozier? It should come as no surprise that Dozier made the Sox pay with a game-deciding home run.

Decisions such as the one to walk Mauer only make sense in White Sox Land, a land where it's OK to tip your cap to Kyle Gibson and blow winnable games at home against last-place teams.

Friday, April 4, 2014

If you're hurt and can't pitch, well, then don't pitch

The White Sox bullpen had a bad day on Thursday. The South Siders had an 8-5 lead after six innings and couldn't hold it. They took a 9-8 lead into the ninth inning and had the Minnesota Twins down to their final strike, but Matt Lindstrom couldn't close. The Twins rallied for a 10-9 victory at chilly U.S. Cellular Field.

I imagine most Sox fans are angry at Lindstrom. I am not. Stuff happens, and Lindstrom is hardly the only guy around baseball to blow a ninth-inning lead during this opening week.

No, the Sox reliever on my bad side right now is Nate Jones, and it has nothing to do with the outcome of Thursday's game. I'd still be pissed at Jones even if the Sox had won. When it comes to pitchers, there are two things I have little tolerance for: 1) Relief pitchers who refuse to throw strikes and 2) Guys who try to be heroes and pitch through injury. Jones committed both those sins on Thursday.

Jones entered the game in the top of the seventh inning with the Sox up three runs and promptly walked the only two Minnesota hitters he saw -- Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer. At one point, Jones threw seven consecutive pitches out of the zone. His final pitch of the day almost hit Mauer and went all the way back to the screen. It wasn't even close. Those back-to-back leadoff walks eventually came around to score, and the Twins got back in the game.

Afterward, Jones said the glute strain that affected him during spring training had resurfaced. It bothered him in the bullpen while he was warming up and continued to bother him after he entered the game.

“I felt a little discomfort out there today,” Jones told Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. “It's kinda just in the back of your head. When you're thinking about something else besides hitting the mitt, then you see what happens. It's not good for the team.”

No, it's not good for the team. That's the one thing Jones got right today. Here's a tip, Nate: If you're hurt and don't think you can pitch effectively, tell the bullpen coach. Tell somebody, anybody. That way, the team can get somebody else warming up.

If a player says, "Hey, I'm hurt and I can't go," I can deal with that. What I don't care for is a pitcher throwing up all over the mound, costing the team, then saying "I'm hurt" after the fact. 

If you can't pitch, then don't pitch. Simple as that.

New York talking heads out of line, as usual

New York Mets infielder Daniel Murphy missed the first two games of the season because his wife had a baby. Murphy went on paternity leave for three days, which is his right under major league rules.

You would think nobody would have a problem with that, but a couple of blabbermouths on sports talk radio in New York City took Murphy to task.

''One day I understand. And in the old days they didn't do that,'' WFAN broadcaster Mike Francesa said. ''But one day, go see the baby be born and come back. You're a Major League Baseball player. You can hire a nurse to take care of the baby if your wife needs help.''

Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason also chimed in on WFAN.

''Quite frankly, I would have said C-section before the season starts. I need to be at opening day, I'm sorry,'' he said. ''This is what makes our money. This is how we're going to live our life. This is going to give my child every opportunity to be a success in life. I'll be able to afford any college I want to send my kid to because I'm a baseball player.''

Two points about this: First, if this had happened in July would anyone have noticed? I don't believe so. This whole tempest in a teapot is a prime example of how Opening Day games and games during the first week of the season in general are overanalyzed. The Mets didn't play well in their first series of the year. They got swept by the Washington Nationals, and in the small minds of some, dammit, someone must be blamed. Murphy is a convenient and easy target, but I really doubt his absence during those two games will have any impact on the outcome of the Mets' season. There's 159 games to go, you know?

And, second, as for Mr. Esiason, "quite frankly" he should stick to NFL talk. I firmly believe Murphy will be able to send his newborn child to college, despite missing the first two games of the season. I'm sure Murphy appreciates Esiason's concern. I know every game and every snap in the arrogant, self-important, bloated, overanalyzed NFL is treated as a matter of life and death, but that's not the way it should be.

No matter what your line of work, family should always come first. That shouldn't be a hard concept to grasp, unless you're an NFL meathead.