Jul 18, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Dan Jennings (43) delivers a pitch during the thirteenth inning against the Kansas City Royals at U.S Cellular Field. Kansas City won 7-6 in 13 innings. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Saturday, July 18th:
This is another painful example of when Ventura’s inaction was enough to make some fans want to throw their clicker at the television. In fact, it would be an interesting case study to see if Ventura’s tenure as manager has seen an increase in Chicago area flat screens heading to the junkyard.
The White Sox staged two improbable rallies against a lock down Kansas City bullpen to force extra innings on the South Side. Ventura brought in reliever Dan Jennings to get the final two outs of the 10th inning.
He was successful and it wasn’t overly surprising to see him back out in the 11th. It made mild sense to save closer David Robertson for a potential escape act or to face the top of the order if it came to that point.
Jennings was back out in the 12th inning and faced number nine hitter Paulo Orlando. After retiring him, it was puzzling that he was left in to face the top of the Kansas City batting order despite the $46 million closer that Ventura had to use in that aforementioned Sale game still available in the bullpen.
Thankfully, Jennings escaped with no damage. He wouldn’t be as lucky when he came in for the 13th inning. Yes, the 13th inning. We’re talking about Dan Jennings, who has exclusively been used to face a few batters or at the most go an inning.
Then again, his ERA is already inflated because Ventura tends to leave him in to get shelled whenever it’s clear he doesn’t have his stuff.
Jennings had thrown close to a career high in pitches, so it made little sense that he was facing their number three hitter Lorenzo Cain. As the script would go, Cain launched a home run to left field and the White Sox never recovered.
With the team slated to lead off with the top of their own order in the bottom half of the inning, it seemed optimal to have Robertson shutdown the Royals’ in preparation for a walk-off.
As for Robertson, per Ventura:
"“(Robertson) was there if you needed one,” Ventura said. “But Carlos (Rodon) is probably the next option at that point, so you’re really hoping to stay away from that.”"
So Robertson was available for one inning, and for the fourteenth the plan was Carlos Rodon. What doesn’t hold up is why Robertson wasn’t used as a bridge to get Rodon. Just like the challenge, why not use a weapon you have in your arsenal to win?
I think we can all agree a replacement-level manager would have opted for strikeout artist Robertson rather than a fatigued Dan Jennings to face Lorenzo Cain in the thirteenth.
So is it fair to say that Ventura was worth negative 0.5 wins in this game as well, or even a full loss considering the outcome? I think so.
Next: Waving the runner home?