One of the side effects of the “Ricky’s Boys Don’t Quit” mantra is that it risks turning ordinary, explicable cases of “quitting” into flashpoints.
Tuesday night’s game contained the latest such episode. Tim Anderson didn’t run after smoking a liner to third that Rosell Herrera appeared to catch with two outs. Herrera wasn’t credited with the out, and his throw to second was late. But the play still resulted in the end of the inning, because Anderson didn’t leave the area of home plate.
Renteria was incensed as we’ve ever seen him, and his reaction was warranted.
At least until it wasn’t.
A replay showed that Herrera did catch the ball. Had Anderson busted it down the line, it wouldn’t have withstood replay anyway.
That doesn’t mean that Anderson was correct to stay home. The challenge system isn’t 100-percent correct, and once he saw everybody in motion, a half-powered effort down the first-base line might’ve kept the KC defense accountable enough to spare himself from Renteria’s wrath, although Leury Garcia discovered that wasn’t good enough on May 9.
Some parts of Renteria’s postgame message were true enough.
“It didn’t look very good to have him standing at the plate and having the ball going around the diamond,” Renteria said. “It’s as simple as that, and he understands it. He knows it. We’ve talked about it. He comes out of the box, he doesn’t stand there. But we just reiterated to make sure that you allow the umpires to make the calls and you allow the other clubs to go ahead and ask for reviews. We run.”
But the longer it gets belabored in the case where Anderson had a legitimate reason for his natural reaction …
“That’s not indicative of Timmy — it isn’t,” Renteria said of the play. “If we’re going to win and move forward as a championship organization, we need fighters. And Timmy’s a fighter. He had a lapse in that particular instance because he recognized something that he thought was clearly an out. But we know how we’re supposed to go about it and we’re going to continue to do it and it’s not going to change. As long as I’m here it’s not going to change. Sometimes you have to react a certain way. With all due to respect to Timmy and all my guys — I love all of my guys. Don’t get me wrong, I love every single one of those guys in there — but we’re going to continue to do it because it’s important for us to do it here, all the way through the system. Because anybody that comes to play for us, that’s the way we’re going to play.”
… the harder it becomes to consistently enforce.
Let’s go back to just one game ago, the rubber match against the Blue Jays. With two outs in the first inning, Jose Abreu made zero effort to run to first when the pitch he swung over for strike three wasn’t caught cleanly by Toronto catcher Luke Maile.
— Jim Margalus 🥌 (@SoxMachine) August 1, 2018
Abreu’s reason for not running is understandable. By the time he realized it wasn’t caught, taking off for first wouldn’t have made a difference. But unlike Anderson, Abreu remained alive by any angle, and a challenge wouldn’t have overturned the call.
I probably wouldn’t have noticed this play — or at least I wouldn’t have stored it in my memory for 72 hours — if these occurrences hadn’t been overlooked by managers and announcers who bring the hammer down on other instances.
In all these cases, the immediate reactions to the plays are understandable. Anderson’s lineout as it unfolded sparked confusion and anger, and since it was the third out of the inning, Renteria’s decision to bench had to be made immediately. At first glance, it looked just like Welington Castillo not leaving home plate after a pop-up that was caught in play with runners on base, and that was an easy, justifiable lapse to punish.
But after all the information became available, it would’ve been more reasonable for Renteria to meet Anderson halfway and share some of the blame (“Maybe I wouldn’t have benched him if I saw the replay, but we also need him moving toward first when he sees a live ball. We both learned something.”).
For his part, Anderson took it in stride …
“I never thought I should have (run) because if I did I would have run,’’ Anderson said. “I saw him throw to second and I saw it go to first. I thought (Herrera) caught it. I didn’t see the umpire signal safe but I learn from it, keep on going.’’
… probably because he’s a positive, coachable guy. If he weren’t, he wouldn’t have the cachet to mutiny anyway based on his body of work. Reputation and track record is why nobody said anything about Abreu not running, but Anderson isn’t on Abreu’s level.
It still seems like it would’ve been smart for Renteria to allow himself some wiggle room, in the event that his caseload of benchings start to look impulsive and arbitrary, and players start to call him on it. Perhaps if the rebuild goes the way the White Sox intend, so many players will have incredible track records that these lapses will be more easily overlooked. As Renteria said, nobody should assume anything, and that includes the manager.
I’m always for running.
I guess I like Renteria as a person, but does he seem like a terrible manager to everyone else? He can’t seem to manage a bullpen, his proclivity to bunt is stuck in the stone ages, and he does things like this that can’t be endearing him to the players. You want a manager that is stern, but fair. One that you can fight for.
There is not much talent on the roster but still some of the blame for this team’s awful performance has to rest on him. (And don’t even get me started on why Steverson is terrible) I just worry that the Sox are going to figure this out way too late and waste a couple valuable contention years.
He managed a bullpen just fine last year when he had one.
They wasted three years of Sale, Q, Eaton, Abreu with a schmuck like Robin. I’d bet they’ll be too patient with Ricky also. That’s not good.
I’m not a fan of RR’s strategic decision making. So I’d sort of gone along with the “he’s good for the development of the youngsters” narrative.
He’s now lost me there as well.
As prospects are promoted, I hope the Sox find a new leader to take them to the next level.
I couldn’t agree more. I don’t trust him at all with a good squad, which we’ll hopefully have in a few years. The players will just tune him out.
You know the trade deadline was boring when this is what we’re talking about.
Great article, as always. My comment is not meant as a dig on the article. I’m just sure we’d all rather be discussing (and Jim would rather be writing about) roster vacancies that could lead to potential call-ups…
You also know something is wrong when the minor league threads get much more comments than the major league threads.
We’ve got August Hot Stove action to track now!
Is my understanding correct that Shields is the only likely August trade candidate? Cedeno and Avilan wouldn’t clear waiver, right?
If that’s true, what do we do with them? Keep them on and hope to deal them in the offseason or next deadline? You’d have to imagine the return wouldn’t be much.
Even if they are claimed, they could still work out a trade with the team that claimed them. If they find the trades aren’t appealing, they can just pull them back from waivers.
I don’t know. It’s exhausting trying to understand the front office’s thought process anymore.
Both are under team control until 2020. White Sox will need bullpen arms next season. If no team wants to trade for them, might as well keep ’em.
You would think by next year Fry and either Bummer or Frare would be good left handed options. No need for both Cedeno or Avilan next year. But like Josh said, who can figure out what the front office is thinking?
Avilan is owed 3 million plus next year, if they offer arbitration. I assume he’s gone.
We were spoiled by the too-brief Golden Age of Trade Deadlines….
Eloy not in Charlotte’s line-up tonight. Maybe Someone is about to do the right thing.
As much as he’s been struggling lately? Of course he needs a night off.
Speaking of ending up on the wrong side of a mantra: the other Brian Bilek throwing cold water on calling up Jimenez and Kopech.