Thursday, May 19, 2011

The B-List: 5/18

FINAL             1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9  R H E
Indians (26-14)   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  0 3 0
White Sox (20-21) 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X  1 5 0

W: Peavy (1-0) L: Masterson (5-2)

Two hours and one minute, and no Mark Buehrle involved!

1) Straightening the wobble

No outing can be considered an unqualified success when it starts by giving up a double to Juan Pierre, but truthfully, the first three innings for Justin Masterson were somewhat shaky.  The White Sox went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position last night, and 5 of those came in the first two innings.  (There were actually two more plate appearances that aren’t “counted” there: the sac fly from Adam Dunn and a walk from Brett Lillibridge.)

The run Masterson allowed was pretty mundane: Pierre blorted one down the opposite field line and is still relatively fast (and aggressive: his SB:CS ratio this year is atrocious).  Omar Vizquel may be old, but he’s hitting .348 right now.  And Adam Dunn hit a fly ball that wasn’t even very deep: had it been to right instead of center, Pierre would not have scored.

However, Masterson still didn’t have his best command early in the game: A.J. Pierzynski singled on a 2-1 pitch, Lillibridge walked on five pitches, three of Masterson’s first six outs were outfield flies, and he started the 3rd inning with 7 straight balls, walking Vizquel and going 3-0 to Dunn.  At that point, Masterson had pitched 2+ innings (the plus stands for extra wandering around!), giving up 3 hits, 2 BB, and 1 R against 1 K.

After that, Masterson whiffed Dunn on four more pitches, Vizquel was caught stealing, and Konerko went down swinging.  Over the last 6 innings, Masterson allowed 2 hits, 0 walks, and struck out 7, which would have been a heckuva start all by itself.

I guess the point is, one of the challenges for Masterson this season after early success would be to see what adjustments he could make, especially when he didn’t have his best stuff.  The White Sox offense is generally pretty bad, so there may have been more room to improvise, but Masterson’s control early in the game was frankly crummy, and he adjusted to the point where he ended up throwing 73 strikes in 115 pitches and looking more or less in complete control over the whole back half of the game.  I don’t know if this was a case of getting his stuff “back” or harnessing stuff with extra movement, but the results were superior, adding one more data point to the “it’s not a fluke” ledger.

2) A scary proposition

Juan Pierre scored on a ball hit to what amounts to “where the center fielder normally plays.”

In the next inning, A.J. Pierzynski, a catcher, who is about forty-eight years old, tagged up and advanced from first on a fly ball to deep center.  He then advanced from second to third on a fly ball to shallowish right-center.

Here is my concern: Grady Sizemore’s arm is bad.  I mean, for everything else Sizemore does well, his throwing arm isn’t one of these things.  It’s weak.  It’s feeble.  It’s not any good.

It may be better than Mike Brantley’s.

Frightening.

3) Pronk limp!

Yep, he was out of the lineup.  They say it’s a “pain in his side.”  I read this as “oblique.”

4) One-man gang

Shin-Soo Choo was able to single twice off Jake Peavy.  Once he stole second base, which led to the Indians going 0-for-2 with runner in scoring position (not “runners”), which led to misery and woe.  Once he was thrown out stealing second base, which led to more immediate misery and woe.  He now has virtually the same OBP and SLG as Adam Dunn, which probably sounded like a better thing at the beginning of the season than it does now.

5) Nice hose!

Not only did Tofu Lou gun down a forty-four year old man, but he threw out Brett Lillibridge trying to steal third base for no reason at all.  Interestingly, since the Tribe was in a heavy “shift” alignment with Dunn at the plate, Vizquel was caught stealing second by third baseman Jack Hannahan.  I am pretty sure there have not been a lot of games in which a team turned TWO “2-5” double plays.

6) Jake Peavy Assessment

He was really good.

I demand the following pitchers have this surgery:

David Huff
Jeremy Sowers
Justin Germano
Jeanmar Gomez
Tom Mastny
Mark Clark
Scott Bailes
Rick Waits
Me

My philosophy here is that even if all nine of these fail, how would you tell?  And if one works the way it appears to have for Peavy, aren’t we all ahead?  Especially me?

7) Flashing the leather, dammit

Brett Lillibridge potentially saved the game for Peavy in the 8th when he reeled in a long drive to the track in left center off the bat of Orly Cabrera.  It was a nice catch.  Since Lillibridge effectively beat the Yankees with TWO of these catches, I can’t claim this was a lucky fluke.  Man hits .297/.386/.568, too.  That actually IS a fluke.

11 comments:

  1. While Peavy deserves much credit, any lineup featuring Duncan, Hannahan, Back, and Marson probably doesn't strike fear in the hearts of men. Especially while Choo and Santana continue to struggle.

    This trend continued in game two v. the Sox, where the lineup featured such slugging stars as Duncan, Kearns, Hannahan, and Everett.

    To me, this series has illustrated the Tribe's soft underbelly - their bench is barely replacement level. I think the starting 9 is pretty talented, but we need some help from 10-14. Maybe June will bring some help some Columbus.

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