Finally the morale of the fanbase is in line with the morale of Nick Schaefer and I. It may be the result of losing an emotionally-charged series with a hated rival in a lopsided and really, truly bizarre manner rather than general ennui about the organization’s ability to field a imposing batting lineup.
Such misery needs a shake-up! That comes in the form of Dylan Axelrod getting a bit defensive about people–like me, per say–conflating his not striking anyone out with a lack of “stuff.” In this piece from Daryl Van Schouwen from the Chicago Sun-Times (now without photos!), Axelrod and Don Cooper go about defending Axelrod’s stuff by basically describing what’s commonly categorized as “pitchability.”
“I feel like my stuff is pretty good, actually,” he said. “A lot of movement … I just don’t throw 95 [mph] so people say I don’t have good stuff. I’m not going to strike out 10 guys a game. I’m not going to be [Jeff] Samardzija. It’s a combination of knowing my strengths and how to attack hitters and not trying to be anybody I’m not.”
“He can go soft, he can pitch in, he has a good cutter,” pitching coach Don Cooper said. “All of it together is what makes him who he is.”
Which is a fine practice in principle. Obviously Axelrod has other qualities that allow him to hold his own and neither he nor his pitching coach should be shy about touting it. But their defensiveness doesn’t need to go so far as to pick apart an idea that Axelrod has mediocre stuff.
Stuff, stuff, stuff.
You’re always able to sound like a serious and knowledgeable voice on baseball to people not familiar with baseball until you use the word “stuff,” as a catch-all for velocity, movement, and the natural bat-avoidance of pitches.
“Stuff?” your significant other’s friend, who is really trying very hard to take your baseball interest seriously, asks, “Is that the technical term?”
“Actually…it is. We really don’t have another word for it. It’s the composite of several factors, so its label was always going to be arbitrary anyway.”
“It’s the descriptor for everything? Even for whether the pitcher is a good tactician, or is very accurate with his throws?”
“No, now you’re starting to describe ‘pitchability.’”
“Alright, so now you’re just making up words. Great. Real nice. You know, we were trying to have a real conversation with you.”
White Sox lineup
1. Alejandro De Aza – CF
2. Alexei Ramirez – SS
3. Alex Rios – RF
4. Adam Dunn – DH
5. Paul Konerko – 1B
6. Conor Gillaspie – 3B
7. Dayan Viciedo – LF
8. Jeff Keppinger – 2B
9. Tyler Flowers – C
Dylan Axelrod, SP
Dayan Viciedo is getting the big-time diss of getting flip-flopped with Conor Gillaspie, but otherwise it’s full steam ahead with the old plan. The old group. The band is back together! They never broke up.
THANK GOD it’s old friend Bartolo Colon on the mound for Oakland, who makes his living pounding the zone with fastballs and won’t call upon the Sox to take pitches or lay off breaking balls to win. Of course, he’s still capable of dominating a night with just his two-seam fastball.
But he’ll offer up some pitches to drive. He’s been vulnerable to the home run his entire career (1.10 HR/9 IP), has been vulnerable to the home run against the Sox of recent, and goodness knows the Sox need to hit a home run to win tonight.
Oakland A’s lineup
1. Coco Crisp – CF
2. Jed Lowrie – SS
3. Yoenis Cespedes – LF
4. Seth Smith – DH
5. Josh Donaldson – 3B
6. John Jaso – C
7. Josh Reddick – RF
8. Brandon Moss – 1B
9. Eric Sogard – 2B
Bartolo Colon, SP
Well, well, well. Look at that lineup. Only Cespedes and Donaldson will be hitting from the right side. Looks like Bob Melvin doesn’t think Axelrod’s “stuff” includes an effective changeup.
Where to Watch: WGN
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan