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On Thursday, a solo homer by Laynce Nix, brother of Jayson, gave the Cincinnati Reds a 9-1 lead over the Atlanta Braves in the fifth inning.
The Braves answered with two runs in the bottom of the fifth, but the Reds protected the 9-3 lead well enough to the point where Bobby Cox took both Chipper Jones and Brian McCann out of the lineup.
You might’ve heard how this one ended. In the bottom of the ninth, the Braves scored seven runs, capping the comeback with a Brooks Conrad grand slam that went in and out of Nix’s glove.
Since it was only a few days ago that the Reds failed to hold an eight-run lead in the fifth, I didn’t think anything of the Marlins’ Brett Carroll stealing second on Scott Linebrink with a 7-0 lead in the fourth inning on Sunday.
The White Sox, on the other hand…
“It’s 7-0, it’s not a good thing to steal a base,” [Freddy] Garcia said. “That’s no respect for the other team. Whatever happens happens, but it’s not showing respect. It’s 7-0 when you steal second and third. I think it’s bad baseball.” […] “Of course I do,” [Ozzie] Guillen said. “I don’t know what happened there, but this is baseball. You have to respect [the other team]. I was up eight [runs] a couple of days ago. That’s the way we learn to play the game. We had to do something about it, and we did. We had to tell the guys not to play like that.”
To use a word Guillen is fond of, this is a horse[bleep] attitude.
On the same day the Braves surprised the Reds, the Sox came within a bad hop of making up a five-run deficit in the eighth inning against the Angels. Is a seven-run lead in the fourth much different than a five-run lead in the eighth?
Not really. Actually, history says the Sox had a better chance of coming back against the Marlins. Using a win-expectancy finder, here’s how often teams have been able to overcome the respective deficits the Sox faced:
Had A.J. Pierzynski’s double short-hopped the wall instead of bouncing over it in that game against the Angels, the Sox would’ve climbed a mountain steeper than the one they faced on Saturday. So who’s to say the Sox had no shot of making up seven runs against the Marlins?
Guillen and Garcia, apparently. Such is the logic of this particular unwritten rule — Carroll disrespected the Sox by showing a lot of respect, thinking the Marlins might need an extra run or two to turn a very safe lead into a lock. He certainly held the Sox offense in higher regard than the Sox did.
It’s one thing to run wild when the other team has clearly given up. For instance, if a team is up 12 in the eighth with a position player pitching. At that point, it makes sense for both teams to concentrate on nobody getting hurt.
The game hadn’t reached that point in the fourth inning on Sunday. Scott Linebrink (an atypical mop-up man) was pitching, the ball had no problems flying out, the Sox had scored eight runs the game before … were the Marlins supposed to think the game was over?
Maybe if Carroll had attempted the steal in the fifth, Guillen would have a case. Using Randy Williams against a slew of righties — now that’s throwing in the towel.
Christian Marrero Reading Room:
*The Phillies are checking out Bobby Jenks and J.J. Putz as they look for back-of-the-bullpen solutions.
*Alex Rios’ combination of power and speed this season is something not often seen on the South Side.
*For many White Sox, May is a month of regression.
*Joe Posnanski on the passing of Jose Lima.
Minor league roundup:
- Charlotte 5, Columbus 0
- Daniel Hudson was terrific: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 11 K. He struck out eight consecutive hitters at one point.
- Tyler Flowers and Jordan Danks each went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a strikeout.
- C.J. Retherford was 2-for-4 with a double.
- Dayan Viciedo singled, struck out and was hit by pitch over four PAs.
- Birmingham 5, Mobile 2
- Christian Marrero singled twice, walked and drove in two.
- Brent Morel went 1-for-3 with a sac fly. He committed a throwing error, his seventh.
- Winston-Salem 7, Lynchburg 3
- Jon Gilmore went 2-for-4 with his second homer of the season. He struck out once.
- Brandon Short went 2-for-5 with a double, driving in two.
- Eduardo Escobar tripled once and struck out three times.
- Charles Leesman was unimpressive in victory: 5 2/3 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 1 HR.
- Santos Rodriguez struck out the side in a perfect eighth.
- Asheville 13, Kannapolis 11
- Trayce Thompson went 0-for-3 with a sac fly, walk and strikeout.
- Kyle Colligan (double) and Miguel Gonzalez each went 1-for-5 with a strikeout.
- Nick Ciolli had a single over four at-bats, and was hit by a pitch.
- Joe Serafin was roughed up for seven runs (four earned) on 10 hits over five innings. He walked one and failed to strike anybody out.