Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Game 1 Is Over, Now Game 2
I have no desire to dwell on the Sox's loss in Game 1; they didn't hit well against Paul Byrd, they didn't execute offensively, and they played poor defense in the Angels' two-run third inning. Not much to say; it was a frustrating game to watch.
Of course, the loss in Game 1 makes Game 2 critical. It's not easy to come back in a series after losing the first two games at home. Of course, the '93 Sox did just that, only to tie the series up in Toronto by Game 4. It's difficult to win a 7-game series, but not impossible, after you lose the first two games at home.
The Angels will either throw a just-recovered Jarrod Washburn, or a committee of relievers at the Sox. Either way, it's a fairly good matchup for the Sox, as the Sox will be sending their ace, Mark Buehrle to the hill. Buehrle wasn't sharp at first against the Red Sox in his last start, but regained his composure and really shut down a good hitting team after the 3rd inning. I look for Buehrle to pitch well tonight.
Note - Washburn only made 3 starts in September, and there are rumors that he has not been 100% for a while.
Chris Widger did a number on Washburn earlier this year - 3 for 4 with a home run - and I'd hope that Ozzie will let him make the start behind the dish. Pierzynski, I believe, has had a poor career against Washburn.
Whither "Small Ball"
I've otherwise been avoiding recounts of last night's Game 1 - it was painful enough in real time, not need to relive it - but I did notice a headline that said "small ball failed." Ugh. I'm not sure that it could ever be said that "small ball failed" last night for the White Sox, such that it caused the loss. Instead, the failure was in the execution. Scott Podsednik was caught stealing; he hasn't been running well in a while. AJ Pierzynski missed a hit-and-run sign; it wasn't a flawed implementation of small-ball by Ozzie. Podsednik's failed bunt in the 8th was, well, pathetic, from a guy who bunts to get on base all the time. And Rowand's failure to advance the runner in the 9th was poor play, although Rowand's prior injury from trying to bunt the ball (I believe he split a finger in spring training one time) might have hurt him as well. The Sox do not need to get away from small ball so much as they need to execute it better. Nevertheless, had the Sox played good defense in the top of the 3rd inning, they would have been no worse than tied going into the 8th inning, anyway.
That said, I'd be surprised if the Sox did not execute better this evening. If they do not, then it is time to blame Ozzie.