Showing posts with label Jose Ramirez. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jose Ramirez. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Chris Beck is terrible all the time, but especially against the first batter he faces

Full disclosure: Chris Beck is probably my least favorite 2017 White Sox player. I cringe every time he comes in from the bullpen. You're never going to hear me say a nice word about him.

And there's really no arguing with the fact that he's a bad relief pitcher. He's made 51 appearances for the Sox this year, and he's got a 6.42 ERA. Somewhat remarkably, he had a 3.41 ERA as recently as July 5, but he's allowed at least one earned run in 16 of his past 20 relief outings.

That's remarkable incompetence, given that relief pitchers often are asked to pitch only one inning. You would think a major league reliever would be able to provide a scoreless inning more often than four times out of 20, but Beck's horribleness defies logic.

Here's the thing that really bothers me about Beck: He cannot retire the first man he faces to save his life. In Monday's 5-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians, the first man he faced was Jose Ramirez.

Ramirez homered.

In Tuesday's 9-4 loss to the Indians, the first man Beck faced was Yan Gomes.

Gomes hit a three-run homer.

This is not a new trend. Beck has allowed 14 home runs in 54.2 innings this season. Seven of those homers have been surrendered to the first man he faces.

In 51 games, Beck has allowed the first man he faces to reach base 25 times. Those 51 hitters have gone 15 for 40 with the aforementioned seven home runs, eight walks, two HBPs and only three strikeouts.

The slash line for those 51 hitters: .375/.490/.950. That's a 1.440 OPS!

This is not an acceptable level of performance for any reliever, even one on a rebuilding team.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Cubs get away with two egregious mental mistakes, stave off elimination in Game 5

Anthony Rizzo
The 2016 Major League Baseball season will continue for at least another day, after the Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians, 3-2, on Sunday night at Wrigley Field in Game 5 of the World Series.

Cleveland's lead in the series is cut to 3-2. Game 6 is Tuesday night in Cleveland.

The Cubs got this win with quality pitching. Jon Lester did what he is paid to do -- pitch well in big games. He limited the Tribe to two runs on four hits over six innings. He struck out five and didn't walk anybody. After a brief relief appearance by Carl Edwards in the seventh, Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman recorded eight outs to pick up the save.

It was not easy for Chapman. The Indians got the tying run to second base in the seventh inning, and they got the tying run to third in the eighth. Both times, Chapman turned them away. The hard-throwing lefty then worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning, striking out Jose Ramirez to close out the game.

The Cubs got three runs in the fourth inning off Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer, highlighted by a solo home run from Kris Bryant. Addison Russell had an RBI on an infield single, and David Ross added a sacrifice fly.

That said, I thought the Cubs were fortunate to get away with two egregious mental mistakes that just can't happen at this time of the season. One miscue was made by Anthony Rizzo in the fourth, the other by Chapman in the eighth.

After Bryant's home run tied the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth, Rizzo was the next hitter. He put a good swing on a pitch from Bauer and drove it to deep right field. He stood there, watched the ball, admired it, then slowly started to jog toward first base. Too bad the ball wasn't gone. It hit the wall, and Rizzo suddenly had to hustle to get into second base for a double.

The Cubs are fortunate Cleveland right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall made a poor throw back into the infield. Any kind of decent throw to second base and Rizzo would have made an embarrassing out. Rizzo later scored the go-ahead run in that inning on the Russell single, so if he's out at second base two plays earlier, that three-run inning doesn't happen, and it's anybody's guess whether the Cubs are still in the hunt today.

This isn't an isolated incident, either. Throughout these playoffs, we've seen Javier Baez, Willson Contreras, Jorge Soler and now Rizzo not hustle out of the box after making contact. That's embarrassing for your team, even if you don't get thrown out, when you're competing for a championship. It's also a poor reflection on manager Joe Maddon. If one guy pulls that crap, it's the player's fault. But when it's a team-wide thing, the manager better do something. The Cubs can't afford that sort of mistake if they hope to win two games in Cleveland. Next time, Chisenhall might make an accurate throw.

Chapman nearly cost himself the lead, too, when he failed to cover first base on a grounder to the right side of the infield by Rajai Davis. Rizzo made a terrific stop on the play, preventing the ball from getting down the right-field line for extra bases. But when he got up to make a feed to first base, Chapman was nowhere to be found and Davis was easily safe.

Davis led the American League with 43 stolen bases this season, and he predictably swiped second and third base after Chapman gifted him the infield single. From Day 1 of spring training, pitchers work on getting over to first base on grounders to the right side. For Chapman to fail to get a good break off the mound in that spot is inexcusable. It's inexcusable in any situation, let alone in the eighth inning of Game 5 of the World Series, with a one-run lead, in an elimination game with everything at stake. That miscue cost the Cubs three bases. It could have cost the game.

Fortunately for Chapman, he did have his best stuff on the mound, and he got Jason Kipnis to pop out weakly and struck out Francisco Lindor looking to strand Davis at third.

Again, though, that's a mistake the Cubs better not make once they get to Cleveland. I think the Cubs need to play not one but two clean games Tuesday and Wednesday in order to win this series.