October 5, 2005

Loss In The Past; Wells / Buehrle at 7:00

One play lost in the flood of White Sox runs was Millar being thrown out at third in the fourth inning. He had just doubled, cutting Chicago's lead to 6-2. There were no outs. Bill Mueller smacked the ball to second base. Millar didn't look at the play, he just put his head down and "ran" to third. Iguchi made a low throw to Crede at third, but he had time to scoop it up and tag Millar.

Not only did Boston lose a base runner, but there was one out. ... Graffanino forced Mueller and Damon struck out. Clement was sent back out for the fourth, he gave those two runs back right away, and the rout was on.

Millar explains:
It was a play you don't see very often. It's a play that, probably, if he had to do it over again, he would have taken the out at first. But he went to third, threw the ball in the dirt that Joe Crede made a good play on. It could have been a costly mistake if Crede doesn't make that play ...

I had no clue he would go to third, but when I got there, I could see third base coach Dale Sveum yelling, 'Down, down, down.' As a baserunner, you think on a ball to the right side, you're advancing to third base. Billy Mueller did a good job getting me over, but the big thing was he hit that ball hard.
A stupid play from a stupid ballplayer.

After that half-inning, trailing 6-2, Francona never considered pulling Clement with the 7-8-9 hitters coming up for the White Sox:
No, we wanted to get him further in the game. We got Bradford up the next inning. We wanted to get Matt through the leadoff hitter. We would bring Bradford in to face the right hitters and get out of the inning, and we could go longer if we needed to. He gave up the home run before we could even get there. It fell apart in a hurry.
Clement became the first Red Sox pitcher to surrender five runs in the first inning of a postseason game since Smoky Joe Wood in Game 7 of the 1912 World Series.

Johnny Damon was pretty blunt in his post-game comments:
I'm not even sure who our No. 1 guy is. So I'm not sure if we could have set up our rotation, who would have been going Game 1. I thought Matt was a good choice. I thought he was going to go out there and make guys look silly. He just didn't have it. He hasn't had it this past month.
It's not news that our pitching needs to hold the opposing team down. We don't get that, we're going to be in trouble. Playoffs, when you give up 14 runs, what's happening?
It was a lot of missed locations. He missed by some pretty good margins quite a few times.
At the Soxaholix, one guy says that Clement "was throwing so much gahbage he now owes a kickback to the Gambino crime family."

I hope I get a chance to redeem myself, but if it's not [meant to be], if they want me to relieve, whenever ... I'm going to be ready. We're not worried about Game 5 right now. We're worried about Game 2.
Jackie MacMullan (Globe) asks the predictable question:
[T]he Red Sox boast a wonderful and colorful history of bouncing back, but the biggest question this morning is: Does Clement have what it takes to follow suit? ... [I]t was his no-decision last Thursday night that left me with doubts about his mental fortitude in big games.

That regular-season game against Toronto was critical to Boston's postseason chances. ... Clement was knocked around for four runs and eight hits in five-plus innings. ... The lanky righthander's body language said it all that night. He looked, acted, and pitched like he was tight.

After each inning, he walked off the mound with his head down and shoulders slumped. In pressure situations, you need to at least fake a sense of command. Clement was unable to do that last week, and again yesterday.
The Red Sox have been involved in four of the nine biggest blowout games in baseball playoff history:
Oct. 10, 1999 Red Sox 23, Indians 7
Oct. 17, 1996 Braves 15, Cardinals 0
Oct. 14, 1996 Braves 14, Cardinals 0
Oct. 2, 1984  Cubs 13, Padres 0
Oct. 4, 2005  White Sox 14, Red Sox 2
Oct. 16, 1999 Red Sox 13, Yankees 1
Oct. 16, 2004 Yankees 19, Red Sox 8
Oct. 7, 1993  Braves 14, Phillies 3
Oct. 9, 1974  Dodgers 12, Pirates 1
Manny Ramirez went 0-for-4, ending his postseason hitting streak at 17 games (tied for longest in history with Hank Bauer (1956-58) and Derek Jeter (1998-99)). ... Wells: "I'm feeling pretty good right now, but I hope we can just win the whole thing and I can run off into the sunset and say good-bye."

There are accusations from a current and a former Yankee that Wells applies shaving cream to the ball during games. Posada admits it's hard to catch Wells in the act, because "you can't see it, you can't feel it, you can't smell it." Oh, okay.


From the Vined Smithy said...

You know, I hadn't thought of yesterday's loss applied to this before, but I've always wondered about the accepted way of setting up pitching rotations. What if you set up your worst starter to face their best and then let your best pitcher face their 2nd, your 2nd their 3rd, etc.?

I guess I'll get to find out if that works out, though I suppose it will actually be our 2nd (Wells) against their 2nd (Buehrle) and our 1st (Wakefield) against their 3rd (Garcia?). The upcoming Wells, Wakefield, and (hopefully) Schilling are pretty much the people we're relying on to get through the postseason. Who pitches Game 5? I will just hope they win tonight and Fenway treats them well.

jetfan13 said...

Chin is going to blank the Angels and then do the same to those hated Red Sox!!

Anonymous said...

"A stupid play from a stupid ballplayer."

You're the stupid one. What Millar did last night every player would have done. When the ball is hit to the right side of the field, you're always running to third. The fielder is supposed to take the easy out. If you heard Ozzie last night he said at first he was saying, "no, no" and then he was saying "good play". As far as I'm concerned that play should not even be mentioned. It had nothing to do with last night's loss. It was all about Matt Clement sucking royally.
Next time learn a little about what you're talking about so you don't sound like an ignorant idiot again.

Anonymous said...

Whoa! Down, boy! I think the throw to third was a bad percentage play with a big lead (thus Ozzie's reaction), risking a big inning when a run or two wouldn't help much, but I'd hardly say
that criticizing Millar is entirely without merit, either. It is true that most players would be running to third in that situation, then again, Millar is a lot slower than most players, and might be expected to know better.
Let's confine the name-calling to the players, coach, manager and Rick Sutcliffe, shall we? And speaking of stupid...can you believe ARod whining about Showalter pulling his regulars in Sunday's game when Torre didn't care enough about the home advantage to start Mussina rather than Wright against the Sox? One more reason why the most talented AL player isn't really the MVP....

allan said...

Check the replay -- Millar never looked at the fielder, didn't take the speed of the grounder into account, didn't factor in his inability to run, and didn't think about his team's situation.

He put his head down and mindlessly ran to third.

Ozzie no doubt wanted Iguchi to take the sure out at first. But seeing the lead-footed Millar trying for third was too great an opportunity to pass up.

If his throw had been on the money, Crede would have been standing at third, reading the Sun-Times, checking his watch and waiting for Millar to arrive.

When the ball is hit to the right side of the field, you're always running to third. The fielder is supposed to take the easy out.

Damn that sheaky Iguchi -- not doing what is was "supposed" to do. Ya can't count on anything these days.

As far as I'm concerned that play should not even be mentioned.

So why mention it?

Next time learn a little about what you're talking about so you don't sound like an ignorant idiot again.

So go find a smarter blogger to read. There are plenty of them out there. Bye-bye.

Anonymous said...

I would never call the author of this blog ignorant, but I also disagree about this particular play. Every bit of analysis I've heard today is that Millar did what he was supposed to do, and that the throw to third surprised everyone. It was so unexpected that I heard Jerry Callahan wonder out loud if maybe this is some kind of play they do in Japan or some such.

At least Millar got on base, which more than I can say for some yesterday.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Millar could have been more conscious of the play, but the real stupidity on this one was Iguchi's decision to go to third. Terrible percentage play, with negative consequences far far outweighing positive ones - it just happened to work. My first reaction on seeing that play was to simply say that there was nothing that could be done - these guys practice baserunning drills a ton so that they know instinctively what to do in every situation. taking third on a ball to the right side is exactly one of these. I can't really blame Millar for Iguchi succeeding on a bad bad play.

allan said...

I think the only reason Iguchi went to third was because the ball was hit so hard.

It pissed me off a lot when it happened. Then I got more pissed when I saw exactly what Millar did.

I was really hoping the Sox could get 3-4 runs there and close the gap and that play seemed to take the steam out of the inning.

Maybe the heads-upness of Iguchi was the cause of derailing the rally more than Millar's baserunning.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what Darren said in the previous thread that Tito conceded the game early on. Sometimes down on the field you get a feel for whether a game can be won or lost, and maybe Francona saw it was a lost cause and wanted to get as many innings out of Clement given the way Chicago was playing, Contreras was pitching, and our flat, lethargic looking team was playing.

As someone else said, Clement lost the game, not the manager.

I agree with anony that Millar did nothing stupid in running for third on that play: it was a great, although risky, defensive play that may have squelched a budding rally, therefore it should be looked on as having some significance. It is beautiful to see a play like that executed even if it hurt our team.

Joe Crede, was quoted on making the play at third base on Kevin Millar yesterday: "It was definitely a momentum swing back to us,'' he said. "It's something you don't see a lot, but we had him all the way."

As far as calling people stupid, it seems ironic on a site called the Joy of Sox. What joy is there in that? Call it a stupid play, disagree, but calling someone stupid to their face would usually cause a volatile situation, and unless you’d walk up to someone and call them stupid to their face, and be ready for fisticuffs, I wouldn’t call them stupid at all. It is considered a big insult.

As yaz-tex implied there was nothing to be done about this game: it was a lost cause early on.

From yesterday’s debacle emerge a rested Timlin and Papelbon. Maybe Arroyo did his duty for Francona and the team.

A lot of people are liking Well’s chances. Me, I’m a worry wart and feel apprehensive about this game.

Go Wells, Go Sox (Red)!

laura k said...

Chin is going to blank the Angels and then do the same to those hated Red Sox!!

Why do people do this? Are they bored? Lonely? Too immature to realize how silly they look?

On another note: I hate Kevin Millar. I might tell him to his face. If he shaved first.