According to the TV listings, there were no Growing Pains re-runs on TV while the Sox were getting stomped by the Devil Rays in the worst loss of the season so far.
So what was Kenny Williams watching instead of a humiliating defeat in just about every aspect? And while we’re at it, what was Ozzie Guillen recording after Comcast came true in his house? I would’ve recommended the “Roswell That Ends Well” Futurama episode (“Oh, a lesson in not changing history from Mr. I’m-My-Own-Grandfather!'”), but I’m guessing Williams, with his stated preference for safe family comedy, settled for the two-part Everybody Loves Raymond where the Barones travel to Italy.
Either one had to be more entertaining than what took place on the field.
At the risk of overreacting based on another fan-murdering experience, I’m just going to stick to a few talking points.
No. 1: DH Carlos Quentin and try Andruw Jones in right for a few games.
Quentin might’ve had the ugliest game of his career. He missed a cutoff man, he had time to park under a sacrifice fly and still caught it flat-footed, he struck out three times in four at-bats, and he should have grounded into a 6-4-3 double play (which would’ve been his fifth) in his other trip to the plate. Hell, he even moved his elbow out of the way of a tailing fastball for some reason.
Given that he has just one hit over his last 20 at-bats, now would be a great time to put Jones in the outfield for a couple of nights. We know Guillen thinks Quentin is too neurotic to be stuck with his thoughts for entire evenings, but his biggest game — six RBI against the Jays — came when Ozzie put him in the DH role.
No. 2: Who’s the next bullpen arm up?
Randy Williams (hereby known as R-AAA-NDY) probably would be on his way to Charlotte, but two things are on his side:
- He’s appearing with J.J. Putz and Ed Farmer to sign autographs and promote the need of organ and tissue donors in downtown Chicago today.
- Erick Threets went on the seven-day DL with an arm injury.
With Threets on the shelf, there isn’t one natural candidate to take Williams’ place as the situational left-hander. Wes Whisler is as good as it gets on that front, which isn’t good.
Actually, check that: It’s great. No obvious LOOGY-in-the-wings means the Sox have a chance to reshape their bullpen efficiently. Guillen already has a second guy in the bullpen well-suited to face a tough lefty if using Matt Thornton isn’t ideal.
He just happens to throw with his right hand.
Yes, Scott Linebrink has held lefties to just one hit and one walk in 15 plate appearances this year, and reverse splits are a long-standing trend with him. But hell, give him credit — he’s also been great against any hitter since walking two of the first three batters he faced this season, with 6 2/3 scoreless, drama-free, strikeout-filled innings since.
Giving Linebrink the second-lefty duties on top of his usual middle relief duties makes more sense than anything right now. It also gives the Sox a chance to call up a real long reliever should they think Tony Pena isn’t fit for three-inning appearances on a routine basis. The new guy, whether it’s Carlos Torres, Jhonny Nunez, or another fringe talent, may only get hammered in the big leagues, but at least he’s used to going multiple innings while doing so.
It certainly makes more sense than trusting a guy like Willliams. So I’m counting on Whisler to face talented hitters in situations for which he is completely underqualified.
No. 3: Sergio Santos is the balls.
We’d like to take a break from bitching and bandaging for this interruption of mirth.
Sergio Santos is special. His relief appearances make me smile, in spite of being quite aware that watching a middle reliever pitch has been my highlight of the season’s first fortnight. That is all.
Ozzie Guillen spent the day talking about waiting for the cable guy (and haven’t we all been there, folks???). He spent the afternoon and evening trying to be supportive of his struggling squad.
On A.J. Pierzynski:
‘‘He’s good,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘He’s not going to lose his job. I’m very happy with what I’ve got, and I have a lot of optimism with what I have, and I think A.J. is my catcher — hopefully he doesn’t get hurt. But I believe in him. He doesn’t have to worry about anything — not with me.
‘‘But when you start making comments about your contract and how long you’re going to be, when is your first day, when is your last day, I think it’s not necessary. But I’m not going to tell my players what to say when your manager says whatever he wants. I respect that. … He’s my catcher until he gets traded or he’s not here anymore. As long as I’m here, I don’t see him why he’s not going to be my catcher.’’
(Although he later said that Pierzynski shouldn’t assume he’ll find an equally comfortable situation.)
And after the loss:
“When you look up (at the scoreboard) and see .180, .190, .200, .210, you want to hit .300 in one at-bat,” Guillen said. “That’s hard to do. Just take it one at-bat at a time and give it your best shot and stay with them. Live with them. I know it’s not easy to come to this park every day when you’re losing. It’s not easy to come to the ballpark when you’re hitting .180.
“Well, it’s easy to play this game when you’re good. That’s the best thing about it. When you’re good, you can’t wait to come here. When you’re bad, you have to show people who you are. How tough you are. How tough you are mentally. How you can be physically to overcome in this game. That’s the bottom line.”
When asked about Jayson Nix, who gained 120 points of batting average with a single, Guillen said, “He still sucks.”
Minor league roundup:
- Durham 6, Charlotte 5 (12 innings)
- Stefan Gartrell had four hits to raise his average to .300, and recorded an outfield assist.
- Tyler Flowers went 1-for-3 with two walks and one K. He allowed a passed ball, his second.
- Jordan Danks went 0-for-4 with a sac fly, walk and two strikeouts.
- Bad day for Dayan Viciedo: 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and a GIDP.
- C.J. Retherford also went 0-for-5 with a K.
- Matt Zaleski allowed five runs on seven hits and three walks over six innings.
- Jacksonville 3, Birmingham 2 (10 innings)
- Charlie Shirek allowed his first earned run, but that was it over seven innings. Six hits, one walk, five strikeouts, and 14 groundouts. His ERA is 0.47.
- Rough initiation for Andrew Dobies, who took the loss thanks to one unearned run over two innings. He struck out five.
- Brent Morel went 0-for-5.
- Christian Marrero singled and drew two walks.
- Winston-Salem 11, Myrtle Beach 4
- Still not quite smooth sailing for Charles Leesman: 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 HR.
- Jon Gilmore went 2-for-5 with a walk and an RBI.
- Eduardo Escobar (one RBI) and Brandon Short (one 2B) each went 3-for-6.
- Gregory Infante struck out one in a 1-2-3 inning.
- Rome 3, Kannapolis 1
- Mired in a 1-for-22 slump, Miguel Gonzalez went 2-for-4. He also stole his first base.
- Trayce Thompson doubled and drove in a run, striking out once.
- Juan Silerio went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and his sixth error. The Intimidators committed five of ’em overall.
- Nick Ciolli and Kyle Colligan combined to go 0-for-7 with four strikeouts.
- Cameron Bayne allowed two unearned runs on four hits and four walks over seven innings, striking out three.
And over at South Side Sox, Larry relays an encouraging post about Trayce Thompson from Baseball Prospectus.