Roughly 10,000 years ago Chris Sale started a game in which the White Sox would attempt to win a series from the Oakland Athletics. That game has ended. Chris Sale’s 8 inning, 2 run performance almost completely forgotten. What remains is a loss that should be charged to Robin Ventura. And bunting. Oh the bunting.
White Sox: 4
The closest to an acceptable sacrifice bunt was the first bunt. With Alejandro De Aza on second base with no outs in the 6th, Alexei Ramirez bunted him over to third. Not what I would have done, but the second to third bunt is not dropping the run expectancy as much as the standard first to second. Alexei laid down a good one. The problem with that is, Alexei is out. Sacrifice bunting literally lowers your run expectancy in any given inning save for a few unique (at least in the American League) circumstances. These were not those circumstances.
In the 7th, Kosuke Fukudome was kind enough to get the Sox on the board with a double, moving into third on a throw home. It was then decided that the best way to get him home would be a squeeze bunt. Well, again, not what I’d do, but squeeze bunts, when successful, well they look pretty cool and hey, you get a run out of them. Much like the stolen base, if you think you can do it successfully, go for it. Morel failed to get it down and Kosuke, left with nowhere to go, spent time between third and home waiting to be tagged out.
Eduardo Escobar got on in the 8th and Alejandro De Aza came to the plate. If you had to guess what happened, what would you say? A bunt? No! Well, yes. De Aza tried to bunt however he failed to get it down and ended up just striking out.
Paul Konerko gave us all a thrill making a 2-1 game 2-2 with his 400th career HR to tie the game. If Paulie knew what was to come, I’m sure he would have saved it for his home park.
To begin extra innings, Brent Morel got himself on base with an infield hit. Escobar followed up with a bunt, a failed bunt, and Morel was thrown out at second. Not only wasting outs, but wasting outs poorly.
Failed opportunity after failed opportunity appeared throughout extras. My personal favorite being Brent Lillibridge, pinch running for Adam Dunn who stroked a double to begin the 13th was TOOTBLAN’d doing who knows what in the vicinity of 2nd base. Picked off second with no outs. Carrying the torch once held by such baserunning gaffers as Scott Podsednik and Juan Pierre.
In the 14th and thankfully final inning Dayan reached on a throwing error, and an out was thrown away by the tandem of Brent Morel and Robin Ventura in order to move Dayan to second. An out and a walk later, Alexei Ramirez popped a double to score both runners and the Sox were in prime position to win the game. Alas, that was not the biggest hit by a Cuban of the day. In the bottom of the 14th Hector Santiago surrendered a 2 run blast to Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes. A few more agonizing bloop singles and Hector not only had the blown save, but also a loss.
And that, my friends, was the ball game. If it’s not the most frustrating game we have all year then god help us all. Sacrifice bunt? No, sacrificed afternoon.
Plus: That Paul Konerko HR ticker next to the visiting dugout at The Cell, well they can go ahead and take that down now. Paul Konerko connected for his 400th homerun, his 2,000th White Sox hit all at once to tie the game in the top of the 9th inning against Grant Balfour. Unfortunately Paulie’s heroics allowed Robin Ventura to call for more bunts.
Minus: Bunts and TOOTBLAN and the holy union of them both in the failed suicide squeeze giving way to the dreaded third to home TOOTBLAN.
My eyes: Well the Yoenis game tying blast in the 14th seemed particularly backbreaking.
The numbers: Well the Yoenis game tying blast looks particularly backbreaking. To the tune of a 47.8% shift in win expectancy.