Delayed Reaction: Game Five
Hero: Scott Linebrink (!) +24.0% WPA
Goat: Gordon Beckham -18.1%
The Pick that Clicked: Mark Teahen +16.4%
Total pitching contribution: +13.8%
Total hitters contribution -63.8%
Rios missed a walk off by about .001% of a second on his swing, allowing the festival of stink to continue. Going into today’s game, the White Sox are dead last in the majors in batting average on balls in play at .197. No one said this is a good lineup, but it’s also been a notoriously unlucky lineup thus far. At least Teahen finally did something, hitting an RBI double in the 5th.
Scott Linebrink bailed out Juan Pierre after Pierre misplayed what probably should have been a routine fly out in the 8th that loaded the bases with no outs. You don’t want to hear “in comes Linebrink with no margin for error” in a close game too often. I was fully expecting carnage, but Linebrink shut them down for two innings. Way to finally earn your hay, Linebrink.
Non-spring training edition Freddy Garcia thankfully showed up today, and only needed 95 pitches to get through 7 innings. His change-up looked sharp, and his fastball averaged at 90 MPH. But if you look at Garcia’s outing from a DIPS-mindset, there were wrinkles. 4 unintentional walks, including one to Jim Thome, who scored on Kubel’s go-ahead HR. Garcia thew a fastball up to Kubel, who proceeded to take Garcia out behind the woodshed.
4 K, 4 walks, 1 HR. The Three True Outcomes can be cruel sometimes.
One thing that left me scratching my head was Ozzie’s decision to intentionally walk Mauer to get to Cuddyer with a base open and two outs in the 6th. With two outs and a base open with a one run lead, I can see where walking Morneau makes some sense, if the batter after him is Nick Punto or some other bad hitter. But the on-deck hitter was Michael Cuddyer, a pretty good hitter in his own right. Mind-boggling. I realize it worked out, but increasing the opposition’s run expectation is not a good idea, and with Cuddyer protecting Morneau, it’s an even worse idea.