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Frater Perdurabo
05-14-2007, 12:37 PM
This is not the thread for pants-pissers, chicken littles, dark clouds, giddy pollyannas or general idiocy. Yesterday's game may have inspired it, but it's been building for a while. The starting pitching has been outstanding. The bullpen has been, well, like a bullpen: good and bad. The only Sox who are not producing are most of the very same guys who carried the team for so much of last year: Iguchi, Paulie, Jermaine and Crede. With few exceptions, their hitting has sucked in 2007. Some say the law of averages dictates these guys will approach their career averages. Pessimists might say Dye, Paulie and Crede had career years last year, and are "due" for a bad year.

Paulie's reduced his GIDPs. Of course, he usually bats with empty bases! :(: He's hitting .167 against lefties!

Thoughout his career, Crede has popped up too much. This year, his popups are astounding.

Bouncing around the order can't help Iguchi. Maybe he's best suited for the #2 role. With his .313 average against lefties, he himself is building a case for platooning him. (I'm not advocating that, but his stats sure are!)

Dye certainly isn't earning a lucrative free-agent contract. He's hitting .157 against lefties!

To have four right-handed hitters slumping at the same time reminds many of us of the Frank-Maggs-PK-Lee enigma (part dynamo, part basket case) that was 2000-2004. These guys went hot and cold, usually all at the same time. Also, Sox hitters routinely make journeyman junkballers and middling rookies look like Cy Young candidates. This has been a problem for more than a decade, so it predates Kenny and Ozzie.

I think at some point this has to go back to the hitting coach, but moreover the hitting philosophy of the entire organization and how the organization scouts opposing pitchers and prepares its hitters to face them.

So, Sox fans, what's the deal?

palehozenychicty
05-14-2007, 12:42 PM
This is not the thread for pants-pissers, chicken littles, dark clouds, giddy pollyannas or general idiocy. Yesterday's game may have inspired it, but it's been building for a while. The starting pitching has been outstanding. The bullpen has been, well, like a bullpen: good and bad. The only Sox who are not producing are most of the very same guys who carried the team for so much of last year: Iguchi, Paulie, Jermaine and Crede. With few exceptions, their hitting has sucked in 2007. Some say the law of averages dictates these guys will approach their career averages. Pessimists might say Dye, Paulie and Crede had career years last year, and are "due" for a bad year.

Paulie's reduced his GIDPs. Of course, he usually bats with empty bases! :(: He's hitting .167 against lefties!

Thoughout his career, Crede has popped up too much. This year, his popups are astounding.

Bouncing around the order can't help Iguchi. Maybe he's best suited for the #2 role. With his .313 average against lefties, he himself is building a case for platooning him. (I'm not advocating that, but his stats sure are!)

Dye certainly isn't earning a lucrative free-agent contract. He's hitting .157 against lefties!

To have four right-handed hitters slumping at the same time reminds many of us of the Frank-Maggs-PK-Lee enigma (part dynamo, part basket case) that was 2000-2004. These guys went hot and cold, usually all at the same time. Also, Sox hitters routinely make journeyman junkballers and middling rookies look like Cy Young candidates. This has been a problem for more than a decade, so it predates Kenny and Ozzie.

I think at some point this has to go back to the hitting coach, but moreover the hitting philosophy of the entire organization and how the organization scouts opposing pitchers and prepares its hitters to face them.

So, Sox fans, what's the deal?

The bold is what I believe. The Sox have long been a team of aggressive hitters, and that works well in the late innings of a game and the postseason when at-bats are more crucial. It's a difficult hitting approach over a course of a long season, when pitching matchups are unpredictable. I'd like to see the team be more patient with an unknown pitcher, as they seem to bail and swing at anything. The Durbin game was a prime example, as nobody made him throw strikes. It was abominable. I think it has to start at the top, and until then we'll have player's hitting at inconsisent levels, like we have now.

Chicken Dinner
05-14-2007, 12:54 PM
25 push-ups for anyone swinging at the first pitch. :smile:

stl_sox_fan
05-14-2007, 01:06 PM
I say bring the fences in about 10 foot. From the games I get to watch on WGN and seeing it on Gameday, it looks like the team has "Warning Track Power" with those swings.

Luke
05-14-2007, 01:10 PM
If I remember, there was an organizational change in scouting this winter. Kenny moved some of the pro scouts to the amatuer level because they've had a relatively poor record of amatuers succeeding in the bigs lately.

Does anyone know if some of the advanced scouts were moved around too? Maybe they're just not getting great scouting reports right now?

Some of this has to come back to Walker, but I don't know how much one man can do at one time. I don't think I've ever seen an entire team go so bad for this amout of time. Even when Ward got fired it seemed like things were going better.

The Immigrant
05-14-2007, 01:13 PM
Not one of our regulars is willing to shorten his swing and take what the pitcher is giving him, by going up the middle or to opposite field. Instead, they are all trying to hit one of the cars on the Dan Ryan - with Hawk telling us that "he just missed it." We have no patience at the plate and are terrible at taking walks. This is not simply a Greg Walker issue, but an organizational problem that starts with KW's roster construction and Ozzie's offensive philosophy that favors hitters that just hack away at the plate.

Ryan Sweeney comes up and does exactly the opposite of every other hitter in our lineup by taking walks, being selective at the plate, and driving the ball the other way, and his reward will be a return ticket to Charlotte. It's simply infuriating.

ondafarm
05-14-2007, 01:16 PM
A couple of things:

First, hitting junkball type lefties is a skill that almost entirely has to develop in the majors. The reason is simple, if the guy is any good whatsoever, almost every organization will yank him to their major league team virtually immediately. The White Sox are one of the few teams that doesn't need anymore starting pitching right now. At least a dozen teams would have either Haeger or Floyd or both of them up in the #4 and #5 rotation spots. Thank goodness the Sox are allowing them to develop. A junkball lefty will get promoted very fast through almosrt every organization. So you see them in the Majors and not AAA.

Second, the Sox don't have a real, instructional type organization. I don't mean there aren't some fine instructors, there are. But the organization isn't set up for systematic training of new guys. The Twins are. You don't advance in the Twins org unless you learn certain skills and practice them all the time. Skills like bunting, inside-out swings and slap-hitting. Compare Morneau to BA. Both talented guys, but Morneau also bunts on occasion, he slap hits and inside outs as well. Not all great, but he can get a decent bunt down. I haven't seen BA do that. I haven't seen a lot of the White Sox do it.

I'm sure BA never had to bunt in high school or college. I doubt Morneau did either. But when Morenau signed with the Twins, a coach sat down with him and said, "If you want to play major league ball for us, then you will learn how to do this." He probably also had a coach teach him how to bunt and work with him periodicly. I know the Twins also have a mentor system, where every minor leaguer gets a call or two every week from a former major leaguer on contract to the Twins, who helps talk him thru every issue of being a professional ballplayer. These guys are there at Spring Training and conduct those extra drills and the minor league managers know to call for bunts or the other little stuff. The whole organization is set up to train guys at every step of the way to become competent at every aspect of the game.

Can the Sox do this? Yes. Will they make the commitment? I don't know. When BA returns will he be able to bunt? I doubt it. IMHO every player should be able to make an attempt at bunting for a hit and both PK and Thome should be able to bunt for a sacrifice.

soxfan13
05-14-2007, 01:30 PM
A couple of things:

First, hitting junkball type lefties is a skill that almost entirely has to develop in the majors. The reason is simple, if the guy is any good whatsoever, almost every organization will yank him to their major league team virtually immediately. The White Sox are one of the few teams that doesn't need anymore starting pitching right now. At least a dozen teams would have either Haeger or Floyd or both of them up in the #4 and #5 rotation spots. Thank goodness the Sox are allowing them to develop. A junkball lefty will get promoted very fast through almosrt every organization. So you see them in the Majors and not AAA.

Second, the Sox don't have a real, instructional type organization. I don't mean there aren't some fine instructors, there are. But the organization isn't set up for systematic training of new guys. The Twins are. You don't advance in the Twins org unless you learn certain skills and practice them all the time. Skills like bunting, inside-out swings and slap-hitting. Compare Morneau to BA. Both talented guys, but Morneau also bunts on occasion, he slap hits and inside outs as well. Not all great, but he can get a decent bunt down. I haven't seen BA do that. I haven't seen a lot of the White Sox do it.

I'm sure BA never had to bunt in high school or college. I doubt Morneau did either. But when Morenau signed with the Twins, a coach sat down with him and said, "If you want to play major league ball for us, then you will learn how to do this." He probably also had a coach teach him how to bunt and work with him periodicly. I know the Twins also have a mentor system, where every minor leaguer gets a call or two every week from a former major leaguer on contract to the Twins, who helps talk him thru every issue of being a professional ballplayer. These guys are there at Spring Training and conduct those extra drills and the minor league managers know to call for bunts or the other little stuff. The whole organization is set up to train guys at every step of the way to become competent at every aspect of the game.

Can the Sox do this? Yes. Will they make the commitment? I don't know. When BA returns will he be able to bunt? I doubt it. IMHO every player should be able to make an attempt at bunting for a hit and both PK and Thome should be able to bunt for a sacrifice.

There is a big difference between being able to bunt for a sacrifice and being asked to do it. I thought it was very interesting, that they showed Thome taking some batting practice this weekend and he bunted the first 4 pitches. That reminded me of when I was younger and playing. One of our managers made us do the same thing. We couldnt swing untill we layed 2 fair to left side and 2 fair to the right side. So for PK and Thome I really dont think its an issue of whether they can do it, its more of an issue of Ozzie asking them to.

I do agree for now with Paulie struggling , he should be asked to sacrifice. At least til he breaks his funk.

Frater Perdurabo
05-14-2007, 01:31 PM
Those are really good ideas, Onda. Any organization would be stupid not to do them.

southside rocks
05-14-2007, 01:37 PM
Those are really good ideas, Onda. Any organization would be stupid not to do them.

I don't disagree, but I think the Twins are a different type of team not only because of their instruction program and philosophy, but because of the stadium they play in at home. Their style of aggressive hitting and baserunning is tailored to the horrible, concrete-and-carpet field they have there. Lots of balls that are hits in the Metrodome would be outs in every other park in the league, I think.

I think it will be quite interesting to see how the move to a 'real' stadium affects the Twins play and performance, in a couple of years.

JohnTucker0814
05-14-2007, 01:38 PM
25 push-ups for anyone swinging at the first pitch. :smile:

The first pitch is the best on most occosians... why not swing at the first pitch???

FedEx227
05-14-2007, 01:48 PM
The first pitch is the best on most occosians... why not swing at the first pitch???

That is not always true. Some guys like Buehrle are notorious first-pitch strike throwers, but some of the better pitchers in the league throw first pitch throw-a-ways in an attempt to get a big swing. (Maddux, Moyer, etc.)

I've always been on the notion that you should take the first pitch unless its an absolute cookie. Why do the pitchers work for him? Let him throw the strikes.

JohnTucker0814
05-14-2007, 01:54 PM
That is not always true. Some guys like Buehrle are notorious first-pitch strike throwers, but some of the better pitchers in the league throw first pitch throw-a-ways in an attempt to get a big swing. (Maddux, Moyer, etc.)

I've always been on the notion that you should take the first pitch unless its an absolute cookie. Why do the pitchers work for him? Let him throw the strikes.

You should NEVER give away any pitches... 1st, 2nd or 3rd... You have to go up there thinking that the first pitch is your to hit! If you let the first pitch go EVERY time you giving away 1 of your strikes to hit. I understand that you should not swing at a first pitch unless it is a pitch you know you can drive... but you can't sit back and just let the pitcher go 0-1 on you... now on the 0-1 you have to be a bit more defensive... now you're likely to go down 0-2 on a breaking pitch or offspeed... why not establish to the pitcher in the first few innings that you will hit the first pitch, make him think about it and you'll then be able to start 1-0, 2-0... better hitting counts. But you need to establish that you are not AUTOMATICALLY taking the first pitch... (was that a long enough sentence?)

spiffie
05-14-2007, 02:07 PM
You should NEVER give away any pitches... 1st, 2nd or 3rd... You have to go up there thinking that the first pitch is your to hit! If you let the first pitch go EVERY time you giving away 1 of your strikes to hit. I understand that you should not swing at a first pitch unless it is a pitch you know you can drive... but you can't sit back and just let the pitcher go 0-1 on you... now on the 0-1 you have to be a bit more defensive... now you're likely to go down 0-2 on a breaking pitch or offspeed... why not establish to the pitcher in the first few innings that you will hit the first pitch, make him think about it and you'll then be able to start 1-0, 2-0... better hitting counts. But you need to establish that you are not AUTOMATICALLY taking the first pitch... (was that a long enough sentence?)
I don't know, Frank Thomas sure seemed happy to take the first pitch nearly every time up there, and he seemed to do a decent enough job of hitting.

JohnTucker0814
05-14-2007, 02:12 PM
I don't know, Frank Thomas sure seemed happy to take the first pitch nearly every time up there, and he seemed to do a decent enough job of hitting.

Frank Thomas was also one of the best hitters in the history of the game. There are guys that can hit 0-2 just as good as 2-0... HOWEVER, not many people can do that. They need to take advantage of getting that 1 hitters pitch per at bat.

Madvora
05-14-2007, 02:13 PM
As bad as it was between 2001-2004 I can't remember the averages being this low. This is astounding. AJ is one guy I've noticed lately that is constantly swinging for the fences. I know that he had a productive week last week, but it looks like everything is an uppercut for him. Dye (aside from his game winning hit) just seems lost up there.
KW mentioned in that Suntimes article last week that he can't even think of anything we need this year. He's happy that our pitching is there and that's what's going to keep us in this thing, but he really doesn't have the scouts out there looking for anything offensive specific this year. There's no help coming. It's going to have to be these guys to perform.

In a normal year, I wouldn't be too worried because, like KW says, at least the pitching is there. The problem this year is that Cleveland and Detroit don't look like they're going to let up. We have two teams we have to catch up to. We have a ton of time, but we're wasting a lot of it playing the way we are.

FedEx227
05-14-2007, 02:14 PM
I don't know, Frank Thomas sure seemed happy to take the first pitch nearly every time up there, and he seemed to do a decent enough job of hitting.

Exactly, Joe Mauer won the batting title while swinging 12.5% of the time at the first pitch in 2006.

Ichiro was at 14.5%, Thomas at 17.1%, Carlos Beltran at 12.9%.

Many guys have been extremely successful in taking the first pitch. With that being said, as power hitters, sometimes it is best to first pitch swing but Frank Thomas would not have been the OBP-monster he was without taking the first pitch.

I don't fault Thome for swinging at the first pitch, but one guy who really gets me is AJ. He is one of the top in the league at 42.5%, when really I think hes much more successful as a doubles-singles hitter more-so then a power guy.

JohnTucker0814
05-14-2007, 02:20 PM
Exactly, Joe Mauer won the batting title while swinging 12.5% of the time at the first pitch in 2006.

Ichiro was at 14.5%, Thomas at 17.1%, Carlos Beltran at 12.9%.

Many guys have been extremely successful in taking the first pitch. With that being said, as power hitters, sometimes it is best to first pitch swing but Frank Thomas would not have been the OBP-monster he was without taking the first pitch.

I don't fault Thome for swinging at the first pitch, but one guy who really gets me is AJ. He is one of the top in the league at 42.5%, when really I think hes much more successful as a doubles-singles hitter more-so then a power guy.

I'm not saying that you need to swing at the first pitch 100% of the time... but you have to be READY to swing at the first pitch if it is right there. How many times have you seen the Sox lately put the bat on their shoulder and let the first pitch go by... ooops, now I'm down 0-1... much harder to hit 0-1 when your struggling than to hit 1-0...

And you're comparing Beltran, Mauer, Thomas to our guys? Iguchi? Uribe? Erstad? Konerko? Dye? Not a real comparison.

FedEx227
05-14-2007, 02:27 PM
I'm not saying that you need to swing at the first pitch 100% of the time... but you have to be READY to swing at the first pitch if it is right there. How many times have you seen the Sox lately put the bat on their shoulder and let the first pitch go by... ooops, now I'm down 0-1... much harder to hit 0-1 when your struggling than to hit 1-0...

And you're comparing Beltran, Mauer, Thomas to our guys? Iguchi? Uribe? Erstad? Konerko? Dye? Not a real comparison.

No not at all. Just showing that guys have been quite successful not swinging at the first pitch. I agree you have to be ready, but I loved Thomas' approach at the plate. He would always let the pitch get him out, not the other way around. Also I find it amazing that Mauer was able to win the batting title by swinging at the first pitch in only 65 of his 521 at-bats.

With that being said I don't think any of our guys are capable enough hitters to allow ourselves to go down 0-1 and still make a decent at-bat of it. Hell, Podsednik is one of the top guys in taking the first pitch, but he is not the most accomplished hitter.

It would however be nice to see a Konerko or even Dye work the count a bit and not foolishly swing at everything they see. A lot could be said for plate patience being a reason the Sox struggle so mightily against unknown journeymen pitchers. We allow them to get in a comfort zone by swinging like crazy, I'd be nice to try and force these guys who obviously have struggled to throw strikes and not do their job for them.

ondafarm
05-14-2007, 02:32 PM
I know a lot of guys who use one of two competing philosophies: a) hit the first good pitch you see, or b) wait till the guy throws a strike, then consider the count.

As a catcher, if I knew somebody was of one of those mindsets, I could tie him in knots.

A good hitter is seldom consistent with either. Not to say you don't do it sometimes, but never be predictable.

I think Frank always picked a pitch and a spot on the first pitch and if the pitcher threw that, he'd hit it. If that didn't work, then he'd get more reactive. Frank, at one time, would take good sliders outside corner and out, hard to right field or even over the fence, but really only on the first pitch.

Wade Boggs used to watch the first pitch go by, but mostly because he figured the pitcher would try to get his best pitch over for strike one and then he'd recognize it and hit it if you threw that again.

PK seems to be waiting until the guy gets one over, which always puts him in a hole. Sorry PK, I'll never mistake your batting average for Wade Boggs'

JB98
05-14-2007, 02:34 PM
I personally don't have a problem with guys swinging at the first pitch, especially power hitters in RBI situations. With RISP, the pitcher wants desperately to get ahead in the count. That first one might be the best one you see. I believe a hitter should pick a particular pitch to look for, and if he gets it, he should take an aggressive hack. That said, in general, I think our hitters are swinging at a lot of pitchers' pitches early in the count. They are getting themselves out. I haven't seen a lot of 2-0, 3-1 counts for our hitters this season. Crede and Iguchi, and to a little lesser extent Konerko, have been horrible about working pitchers and trying to get into hitters' counts. Those guys are perpetually behind in the count, and it reflects in their batting averages.

ondafarm
05-14-2007, 02:36 PM
Those are really good ideas, Onda. Any organization would be stupid not to do them.


Thanks Frater. I don't think it's stupidity, just commitment to spending the money and keeping good relations with a lot of former major leaguers that keep the Sox from doing it. Last I heard, Carlton Fisk, the best catcher I ever saw in a Sox uniform, wants nothing to do with the current ownership/management group. I use that only as an example.

INSox56
05-14-2007, 02:37 PM
I don't disagree, but I think the Twins are a different type of team not only because of their instruction program and philosophy, but because of the stadium they play in at home. Their style of aggressive hitting and baserunning is tailored to the horrible, concrete-and-carpet field they have there. Lots of balls that are hits in the Metrodome would be outs in every other park in the league, I think.

I think it will be quite interesting to see how the move to a 'real' stadium affects the Twins play and performance, in a couple of years.
This is, IIRC, what Kenny has said himself before. We play to our park...it's a launching pad, so they have guys hit for power for runs. I think it's BS, but he's said something to that effect before where we're not utilizing our park correctly if we're not slugging them out. I almost wish they'd built the park differently because we all know that good "hitting" teams are far less prone to slumps than good slugging teams that utilize a launching pad mentality

FedEx227
05-14-2007, 02:37 PM
I personally don't have a problem with guys swinging at the first pitch, especially power hitters in RBI situations. With RISP, the pitcher wants desperately to get ahead in the count. That first one might be the best one you see. I believe a hitter should pick a particular pitch to look for, and if he gets it, he should take an aggressive hack. That said, in general, I think our hitters are swinging at a lot of pitchers' pitches early in the count. They are getting themselves out. I haven't seen a lot of 2-0, 3-1 counts for our hitters this season. Crede and Iguchi, and to a little lesser extent Konerko, have been horrible about working pitchers and trying to get into hitters' counts. Those guys are perpetually behind in the count, and it reflects in their batting averages.

Yeah, I definitely agree with that. I too, have no problem swinging at a first pitch or being in a position to swing at it. But a lot of times they'll be throwing us and absolutely terrible first pitch and we're still swinging. And thus as JB is saying going down 0-1 or 0-2 in a hurry.

This is what really irks me about first pitch swinging. Of course if its got a lot of plate on it, fastball, or even a hanging curve you have to take a hack at it. But we swing at first pitch sinkers near the dirt proving to the pitcher that as long as you catch any bit of the plate, we're likely to swing at it.

Madscout
05-14-2007, 02:40 PM
I gotta say that I am a fan of taking the first pitch rule. Especially if it is the first time around the order. The way we are swinging right now, more agressiveness will compound the problem of jumping on bad pitches. We need guys to go up there and battle, easier said than done I know, but this really does things for the whole team. If for nothing else but the pitchers. Our starters have been spectacular concidering the run support that they have gotten, but it wears on them when they have 20 pitch innings, then our boys go up and take 5 pitches total 3 up 3 down and they have to go right back out.

FedEx227
05-14-2007, 02:40 PM
This is, IIRC, what Kenny has said himself before. We play to our park...it's a launching pad, so they have guys hit for power for runs. I think it's BS, but he's said something to that effect before where we're not utilizing our park correctly if we're not slugging them out. I almost wish they'd built the park differently because we all know that good "hitting" teams are far less prone to slumps than good slugging teams that utilize a launching pad mentality

He isn't lying though, according to almost all park factor statistics I've seen The Cell is no. 1 in the AL for homers at 128 (100 is the average), good for 3rd in the MLB.

Cell is at 99 for average, and 89 for doubles, 4th worst in the league, 63 in triples, 6th worst in the league. So he isn't just blowing smoke up people's asses. We are not a doubles/triples park.

balke
05-14-2007, 02:43 PM
I'm not saying that you need to swing at the first pitch 100% of the time... but you have to be READY to swing at the first pitch if it is right there. How many times have you seen the Sox lately put the bat on their shoulder and let the first pitch go by... ooops, now I'm down 0-1... much harder to hit 0-1 when your struggling than to hit 1-0...



I think that depends on who we are facing and what the game plan is. I think some games the Sox want to see more pitches and raise the pitchers pitch count, hoping to draw some walks. Some games if they swing at that first pitch it could be a real short game, groundouts, pop-outs etc..

JB98
05-14-2007, 02:43 PM
Yeah, I definitely agree with that. I too, have no problem swinging at a first pitch or being in a position to swing at it. But a lot of times they'll be throwing us and absolutely terrible first pitch and we're still swinging. And thus as JB is saying going down 0-1 or 0-2 in a hurry.

This is what really irks me about first pitch swinging. Of course if its got a lot of plate on it, fastball, or even a hanging curve you have to take a hack at it. But we swing at first pitch sinkers near the dirt proving to the pitcher that as long as you catch any bit of the plate, we're likely to swing at it.

And you know the scouting report is out on us around the league. Every pitcher we face knows to throw sinkers or breaking balls that are borderline strikes. We'll hack at them and make weak outs. The thing that concerns me is we were bad offensively in September last year on top of this six-week malaise we've had to open the season. This isn't "just a little slump." If you look over our last 70 regular season games or so, the numbers are pretty poor. I never played ball past high school, and I was never a good hitter. So I don't pretend to know everything, but it just seems to me that the league has us figured out and we haven't figured out how to adjust back.

ondafarm
05-14-2007, 02:43 PM
I don't disagree, but I think the Twins are a different type of team not only because of their instruction program and philosophy, but because of the stadium they play in at home. Their style of aggressive hitting and baserunning is tailored to the horrible, concrete-and-carpet field they have there. Lots of balls that are hits in the Metrodome would be outs in every other park in the league, I think.

I think it will be quite interesting to see how the move to a 'real' stadium affects the Twins play and performance, in a couple of years.


I agree. But I'd still like to see the Sox bring up more complete players. Sometimes you can out crush an opponent. But sometimes you have to squeak an extra run home and manufacture that. If everybody knows how to bunt or if everybody can take advantage of a poor right fielder, etc, then winning is much more consistent.

JohnTucker0814
05-14-2007, 02:45 PM
Yeah, I definitely agree with that. I too, have no problem swinging at a first pitch or being in a position to swing at it. But a lot of times they'll be throwing us and absolutely terrible first pitch and we're still swinging. And thus as JB is saying going down 0-1 or 0-2 in a hurry.

This is what really irks me about first pitch swinging. Of course if its got a lot of plate on it, fastball, or even a hanging curve you have to take a hack at it. But we swing at first pitch sinkers near the dirt proving to the pitcher that as long as you catch any bit of the plate, we're likely to swing at it.

Putting it lightly, we look like a little league team trying to hit major league pitching right now. Can we call it a slump when it's lasted over 1 month? I don't think we can call it a slump... I think they are not prepared to hit. It's not like these guys haven't had success hitting at this level. Either Guillen or Walker needs to do something with these guys to get them going. Maybe pinch hit for Konerko or Dye if there is an important run on 2nd base and we need a hit... maybe that little push on their ego will get them to really think about thier position on the team. Heck, I dont' have any answers... but they are getting paid to do a job that NONE of them are succeeding at. That is why us fans are dissapointed.

Are we giving up on them, not the true fans. But, we should be able to show our displeasure with their output.

Hopefully we can turn around our bats on this terrible Yankee pitching staff.

FedEx227
05-14-2007, 02:45 PM
And you know the scouting report is out on us around the league. Every pitcher we face knows to throw sinkers or breaking balls that are borderline strikes. We'll hack at them and make weak outs. The thing that concerns me is we were bad offensively in September last year on top of this six-week malaise we've had to open the season. This isn't "just a little slump." If you look over our last 70 regular season games or so, the numbers are pretty poor. I never played ball past high school, and I was never a good hitter. So I don't pretend to know everything, but it just seems to me that the league has us figured out and we haven't figured out how to adjust back.

****, I was used as a defensive replacement in Little League, I have no room to talk either. :bandance: I'm better now though.

But still, I definitely would love to see the scouting reports on us across the league. Maybe it's just me but I see teams absolutely punish us with low breaking balls, mainly splitters and sinkers.

palehozenychicty
05-14-2007, 02:46 PM
And you know the scouting report is out on us around the league. Every pitcher we face knows to throw sinkers or breaking balls that are borderline strikes. We'll hack at them and make weak outs. The thing that concerns me is we were bad offensively in September last year on top of this six-week malaise we've had to open the season. This isn't "just a little slump." If you look over our last 70 regular season games or so, the numbers are pretty poor. I never played ball past high school, and I was never a good hitter. So I don't pretend to know everything, but it just seems to me that the league has us figured out and we haven't figured out how to adjust back.

That is a concern that nobody has touched upon. We'll see.

INSox56
05-14-2007, 02:47 PM
He isn't lying though, according to almost all park factor statistics I've seen The Cell is no. 1 in the AL for homers at 128 (100 is the average), good for 3rd in the MLB.

Cell is at 99 for average, and 89 for doubles, 4th worst in the league, 63 in triples, 6th worst in the league. So he isn't just blowing smoke up people's asses. We are not a doubles/triples park.
Oh I can understand and agree with the stats, but the thing is when those stats become a hitting mentality. Like we have to be hitting home runs in this park. I just get the feeling like this is hte case from watching some of these swings. Sometimes I feel like the only way we get the ball on the ground or have the possibility of just getting hits that aren't fly balls is if we're facing a good sinkerballer that forces us to swing over the ball and not uppercut underneath it.

FedEx227
05-14-2007, 02:57 PM
Oh I can understand and agree with the stats, but the thing is when those stats become a hitting mentality. Like we have to be hitting home runs in this park. I just get the feeling like this is hte case from watching some of these swings. Sometimes I feel like the only way we get the ball on the ground or have the possibility of just getting hits that aren't fly balls is if we're facing a good sinkerballer that forces us to swing over the ball and not uppercut underneath it.

Oh yeah I'm not disagreeing with you at all. It's very troubling when 3 of our hitters are in the top 10 in lowest GB/FB ratios for 2006.

Again this year we have 3 guys making that top 10 list, with no other AL teams having more than 1 representative. That is sad.

JB98
05-14-2007, 02:58 PM
That is a concern that nobody has touched upon. We'll see.

It's the 500-pound gorilla in the room. We've spent the first 34 games of the year talking about how good the pitching has been, keeping us in contention while the offense has been woeful. Well, it's a long season, and eventually we will hit a spot where the pitching struggles. That's just how baseball is. When that time finally comes, our offense better be there to pick the pitchers up, as the pitchers have picked the hitters up to this point. Next Sunday will be game 40, that's the one-quarter pole of the season. If you have a bad April, you can say, "Oh, it will come around." But once you get toward the end of May and you're still in a horrible funk, some tough questions have to start being asked.

ondafarm
05-14-2007, 02:59 PM
It's the 500-pound gorilla in the room. We've spent the first 34 games of the year talking about how good the pitching has been, keeping us in contention while the offense has been woeful. Well, it's a long season, and eventually we will hit a spot where the pitching struggles. That's just how baseball is. When that time finally comes, our offense better be there to pick the pitchers up, as the pitchers have picked the hitters up to this point. Next Sunday will be game 40, that's the one-quarter pole of the season. If you have a bad April, you can say, "Oh, it will come around." But once you get toward the end of May and you're still in a horrible funk, some tough questions have to start being asked.

I hope Greg Walker rents his current abode.

Flight #24
05-14-2007, 03:08 PM
He isn't lying though, according to almost all park factor statistics I've seen The Cell is no. 1 in the AL for homers at 128 (100 is the average), good for 3rd in the MLB.

Cell is at 99 for average, and 89 for doubles, 4th worst in the league, 63 in triples, 6th worst in the league. So he isn't just blowing smoke up people's asses. We are not a doubles/triples park.

I'm not sure how these #s are tabulated, but if it's a straight total or something, wouldn't being #1 in HRs and below average in doubles/triples be related? I mean in a neutral park, the type of hit that would be a double flies out in USCF. So relative to the neutral team, the Sox are +1 in HRs and -1 in doubles. Is that accounted for? IMO some sort of park-adjusted SLG% might be a better gauge.

That said, esp with a HRpark, getting singles & BBs is important, and in any park the ability to scratch out a run is crucial to winning close games, esp against good teams(ala the runs in the 9th & 10th this past week).

I'd have to think that unless Thome, Konerko, Dye have all been seriously brainwashed the past 6 mo, they'll revert back to something similar to their career numbers. Erstad too. I just don't see vets like that adjusting their approach that much, esp when the results aren't there. Now other guys - Uribe, Crede, etc? Them I could see struggling because of an allegedly bad approach. If the coaching/approach is poor, you might see the slumps last a bit longer because the guys have to basically fight out of it on their own. But it should happen regardless (or maybe they all have a down year, which also happens).

ilsox7
05-14-2007, 03:09 PM
It's the 500-pound gorilla in the room. We've spent the first 34 games of the year talking about how good the pitching has been, keeping us in contention while the offense has been woeful. Well, it's a long season, and eventually we will hit a spot where the pitching struggles. That's just how baseball is. When that time finally comes, our offense better be there to pick the pitchers up, as the pitchers have picked the hitters up to this point. Next Sunday will be game 40, that's the one-quarter pole of the season. If you have a bad April, you can say, "Oh, it will come around." But once you get toward the end of May and you're still in a horrible funk, some tough questions have to start being asked.

Well said. If something isn't right by Memorial Day, that's generally the time teams start, or should start, asking questions. That's why I've said it is key to come out of Memorial Day within 5 games of the division. Do that and you're in good shape, as long as you do something to address any problems.

Chicken Dinner
05-14-2007, 03:30 PM
The first pitch is the best on most occosians... why not swing at the first pitch???

This stat shows why you shouldn't swing at the first pitch:


Telling stat: The White Sox miss Thome's patience as well as his power. In their first 21 games, the Sox averaged 4.6 walks per game. Since Thome went on the disabled list, the Sox have averaged 1.8 walks per game.

JB98
05-14-2007, 03:36 PM
This stat shows why you shouldn't swing at the first pitch:


[b]

Konerko swung at the first pitch from Chad Qualls with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 2 of the World Series. As Sox fans, we should thank the heavens he did. Are there certain situations where a hitter should take a pitch? Absolutely. But I think it's just plain wrong to say you shouldn't swing at the first pitch. A lot of guys have made a lot of money playing the game of baseball as first-pitch fastball hitters. If that's an approach that works for a hitter, he should use it. Are you going to tell Vlad Guerrero to take a strike every time he walks to the dish? I hope not. If so, I wouldn't want you managing my club.

JohnTucker0814
05-14-2007, 03:45 PM
Konerko swung at the first pitch from Chad Qualls with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 2 of the World Series. As Sox fans, we should thank the heavens he did. Are there certain situations where a hitter should take a pitch? Absolutely. But I think it's just plain wrong to say you shouldn't swing at the first pitch. A lot of guys have made a lot of money playing the game of baseball as first-pitch fastball hitters. If that's an approach that works for a hitter, he should use it. Are you going to tell Vlad Guerrero to take a strike every time he walks to the dish? I hope not. If so, I wouldn't want you managing my club.

This was my point... you at least have to give the impression to the pitcher that he better be carefull, because he puts one down the middle and you are going to crush it! Right now, it looks like the pitchers know we are not swing, they throw a fastball down the middle and 0-1 here we are. Look at Erstad, he has been pretty good this year, anyone remember the first pitch he hit in Minnesota last weekend, the first pitch of the ball game... man, that really puts the pitcher on the defensive now for the rest of the game.

FedEx227
05-14-2007, 03:46 PM
This was my point... you at least have to give the impression to the pitcher that he better be carefull, because he puts one down the middle and you are going to crush it! Right now, it looks like the pitchers know we are not swing, they throw a fastball down the middle and 0-1 here we are. Look at Erstad, he has been pretty good this year, anyone remember the first pitch he hit in Minnesota last weekend, the first pitch of the ball game... man, that really puts the pitcher on the defensive now for the rest of the game.

I think there is a difference between first pitch swinging on the bullpen over the starters. I'd be more inclined to do it with the bullpen because most guys are niche pitcher in they have 1-2 pitches and are in a more dire situation to not walk guys.

Chicken Dinner
05-14-2007, 03:56 PM
I believe Paulie was batting a little better than .200 when that happened. Adding 27 pitches to the pitch count is significant.

JB98
05-14-2007, 03:58 PM
I think there is a difference between first pitch swinging on the bullpen over the starters. I'd be more inclined to do it with the bullpen because most guys are niche pitcher in they have 1-2 pitches and are in a more dire situation to not walk guys.

I think everything is a case-by-case basis. There are different theories and different approaches. Even people who make their living playing and coaching at the highest levels don't always agree on when to be aggressive and when to take a pitch. That's the cat-and-mouse, game-within-a-game quality that makes baseball great. I think the thing that hitters have to shy away from is becoming dogmatic about a certain approach. You vary what you do, you make adjustments, you keep the other guy guessing. To me, Chicken Dinner's suggestion of taking a pitch on every AB would be a dogmatic approach. Maybe it worked for Wade Boggs. But it's worth noting that Boggs is one of the greatest hitters to ever play. His approach isn't necessarily applicable to Juan Uribe or Joe Crede.

ondafarm
05-14-2007, 04:11 PM
I think there is a difference between first pitch swinging on the bullpen over the starters. I'd be more inclined to do it with the bullpen because most guys are niche pitcher in they have 1-2 pitches and are in a more dire situation to not walk guys.

Have to add here: if I had a teammate having sucess against one guy or a team, I'd always consider why he was a success and then either emulate or do the exact opposite. There were teams that always taught, get ahead with the first pitch. Swinging at it sometimes was great. But sometimes, one guy was doing it and he'd change by the time he got to me. If somebody was throwing one pitch which was unhittable, then let the guy throw it and know that nobody throws the same pitch three times in a row.

BanditJimmy
05-14-2007, 04:12 PM
We are a slow slugging team who just isn't slugging right now.

I'm more concerned about the speed factor on this team than I am about hitting. I can't recall the last time we had a guy go from 1st to 3rd on a base hit. And when was the last time we stole a base?

To over-come bad offense, you need speed. We don't have that. Yes the guys will eventually get hot but I think it will be absurd to think that when they do get hot they will ride that streak to the end of the year. This team will eventually hit another slump if they ever get out of this one, that's just the way a slugging team is. My concern is that because this current slump has lasted already 6 weeks (which slumps usually don't last this long), we might not have room to struggle once again this year because of how good this division is.

We have been blessed so far that our starting pitching has not hit a bump yet. But the pitching will also hit a bad stretch some time this year, let's hope to God it doesn't happen when our hitting is in one of these awful funks.

JB98
05-14-2007, 04:17 PM
We are a slow slugging team who just isn't slugging right now.

I'm more concerned about the speed factor on this team than I am about hitting. I can't recall the last time we had a guy go from 1st to 3rd on a base hit. And when was the last time we stole a base?

To over-come bad offense, you need speed. We don't have that. Yes the guys will eventually get hot but I think it will be absurd to think that when they do get hot they will ride that streak to the end of the year. This team will eventually hit another slump if they ever get out of this one, that's just the way a slugging team is. My concern is that because this current slump has lasted already 6 weeks (which slumps usually don't last this long), we might not have room to struggle once again this year because of how good this division is.

We have been blessed so far that our starting pitching has not hit a bump yet. But the pitching will also hit a bad stretch some time this year, let's hope to God it doesn't happen when our hitting is in one of these awful funks.

We stole bases on Minnesota. The game Contreras pitched, two of our three runs were the direct result of stolen bases. Ozuna got one in the very first inning, and AJ drove him home. Mack swiped one as well, and Sweeney knocked him in. We are not a great running team by any stretch, but we run when we can. Lately, the biggest problem has been lack of men on base. You can't steal first.

infohawk
05-14-2007, 04:22 PM
This is only uninformed speculation on my part -- I have always thought that the Sox, like many other teams, build their offense around their park. I suspect that the philosophy of the Sox organization is that to win in U.S. Cellular Field you have to hit home runs. The park is relatively small and the gaps aren't very big. They therefore draft and acquire players based on their ability to hit for power. They then take the power hitters and encourage them to pull the ball to maximize their power. I can't remember the last time I saw Konerko hit a home run to the opposite field. Crede has become a pull hitter, too. Iguchi still goes the other way. I seem to recall Dye going the other way more in the past, too. Again, just anecdotal observations.

The Immigrant
05-14-2007, 04:29 PM
On a positive note, Toby Hall has homered in each of his last two games. He hit a 3-run shot in today's day game.

Considering the adversity Toby's endured this season, his presence alone should hopefully add some life to our offense.

JB98
05-14-2007, 04:30 PM
This is only uninformed speculation on my part -- I have always thought that the Sox, like many other teams, build their offense around their park. I suspect that the philosophy of the Sox organization is that to win in U.S. Cellular Field you have to hit home runs. The park is relatively small and the gaps aren't very big. They therefore draft and acquire players based on their ability to hit for power. They then take the power hitters and encourage them to pull the ball to maximize their power.

Possibly, but that doesn't explain the horrible lack of execution with a man at third and less than two outs. I've seen plenty of WTP from Iguchi and Crede this year. Then, they get in a situation where that same fly ball produces a run, and they either strike out or tap the ball weakly to the left side of the infield. Situational hitting was a HUGE point of emphasis from Ozzie this spring. But truthfully, situational hitting has been just as bad, if not worse, than it was in 2006 to this point. Our problems would be less dire if we could just collect the easy RBI. Last year, at least we could hit home runs. This year, we don't hit home runs, and the situational hitting still blows.

jabrch
05-14-2007, 04:31 PM
On a positive note, Toby Hall has homered in each of his last two games. He hit a 3-run shot in today's day game.

Considering the adversity Toby's endured this season, his presence alone should hopefully add some life to our offense.


Heck - If Toby's shoulder becomes a problem and he can't throw, he'd help this team right now (until Thome gets back) as a DH!

(I know - Thome will be back soon - but just in case, and to DH against very tough LHP)

BanditJimmy
05-14-2007, 04:33 PM
We stole bases on Minnesota. The game Contreras pitched, two of our three runs were the direct result of stolen bases. Ozuna got one in the very first inning, and AJ drove him home. Mack swiped one as well, and Sweeney knocked him in. We are not a great running team by any stretch, but we run when we can. Lately, the biggest problem has been lack of men on base. You can't steal first.


Yes, but to me it feels like we need to get 4 hits in an inning to score 1 run. Either that or wait for the 3 run HR (which we haven't been getting much of).

Batting Average is one issue we have, but run production is even worse.

infohawk
05-14-2007, 04:38 PM
It's also possible that we are seeing something to which we are not accustomed -- a late but tremendous offensive surge that carries us on an extended run once it kicks in. Slump early, make up for it late. I'm not saying to bank on it, but it COULD happen and needs to be thrown out there.

BanditJimmy
05-14-2007, 04:40 PM
Heck - If Toby's shoulder becomes a problem and he can't throw, he'd help this team right now (until Thome gets back) as a DH!

(I know - Thome will be back soon - but just in case, and to DH against very tough LHP)

If you go by the "law of averages," which everyone is hanging on to as the reason why all will be fine with this offense, then Toby is no savior. He is a career .265 hitter with a .685 OPS. Hitting 2 Hrs in AAA is not going to change that. Toby will be a nice bat to have off the bench for the Right Side. Bottom line, Thome needs to get back ASAP.

Chicken Dinner
05-14-2007, 05:05 PM
Well, Toby has as good of batting average as Molina.

JB98
05-14-2007, 05:22 PM
Yes, but to me it feels like we need to get 4 hits in an inning to score 1 run. Either that or wait for the 3 run HR (which we haven't been getting much of).

Batting Average is one issue we have, but run production is even worse.

To me, that's the poor situational hitting showing up, moreso than a lack of speed. Certainly, we aren't that quick without Pods, but I think we could still be an above average offense despite our general lack of speed.

monkeypants
05-14-2007, 05:40 PM
One of the biggest problems I see with most of our hitters is the reluctance to hit up the middle or to the opposite side. I've seen way too many at bats where our hitters have been trying to pull the ball. But when you are having trouble connecting with the ball then that's the time when you need to keep your head in and your eyes locked on the ball all the way through the strike zone. When you start doing this you will be more successful in making contact, especially up the middle or to the opposite field. I haven't looked up the stat but we are probably last or near the bottom in doubles also. I haven't seen too many gap hits this year. Gap hit doubles are sometimes just as good as a homer.

As for the swing on the first pitch/take first pitch camps, I'm on the side of usually taking the first pitch. But it all comes down to a case by case basis on who is pitching, who is hitting and what the situation is at the time. If I'm a hitter I want the starting pitcher to work. Don't give him easy outs and short innings by swinging at the first pitch. Also it's usually to the hitter's benefit to see as many pitches as possible and reach a level of comfort. Then swing away.

A. Cavatica
05-14-2007, 09:24 PM
You can't steal first.

:AJ:

"Wanna bet?"

southsideirish71
05-14-2007, 10:14 PM
One of the biggest problems I see with most of our hitters is the reluctance to hit up the middle or to the opposite side. I've seen way too many at bats where our hitters have been trying to pull the ball. But when you are having trouble connecting with the ball then that's the time when you need to keep your head in and your eyes locked on the ball all the way through the strike zone. When you start doing this you will be more successful in making contact, especially up the middle or to the opposite field. I haven't looked up the stat but we are probably last or near the bottom in doubles also. I haven't seen too many gap hits this year. Gap hit doubles are sometimes just as good as a homer.

As for the swing on the first pitch/take first pitch camps, I'm on the side of usually taking the first pitch. But it all comes down to a case by case basis on who is pitching, who is hitting and what the situation is at the time. If I'm a hitter I want the starting pitcher to work. Don't give him easy outs and short innings by swinging at the first pitch. Also it's usually to the hitter's benefit to see as many pitches as possible and reach a level of comfort. Then swing away.

We are dead last in the majors in doubles.

Pitchers have been focusing on low and away to our right handed hitters. Our hitters have responded with attempting to lift and pull that pitch for power. Which makes it very hard to square up the ball to get any power behind it. You see a lot of roll over ground outs to the left side, or a popup due to the bat angle.

What is commonly commented by opposing analysts, by Bill Melton, Hawk and DJ and Farmer and Singleton is the way you get out of a long slump like this is to simplify things. You shorten up your swing, and work back from right field towards the pull side. You start working back up the middle and oppo. Eventually once you get your swing back, then you pick counts to turn on pitches. I have seen Dye, Crede and Konerko have success during this slump but only for a game. Dye had the most recent success on Saturday when he purposedly when back up the middle. Once our hitters stop pressing, and break their swings down to basics they will be fine. But right now they are all trying to hit home runs on every pitch.

As far as picking what pitches to swing at. Well the reason big league teams dont attack the first pitch is for a few reasons. You need to elevate the pitch count. You need to see the arm slot, and pitch velocity for the night. You need to pick up how an ump is calling the zone. Plus its easier to drive a pitch on a hitters count, instead of when a pitcher can go all over

Madvora
05-15-2007, 09:34 AM
You'd think that eventually the Sox would have that huge breakout game, but it hasn't happened at all this year. In the past we were always having the problems with an extremely inconsistent offense. We'd beat the crap out of an all-star one day and then get 1 hit by a rookie the next. I don't see inconsistency as a problem here... we're not that lucky. I, like everyone else, am completely stumped by this.

IndianWhiteSox
05-15-2007, 09:53 AM
:AJ:

"Wanna bet?"

Sorry AJ, not every pitcher is this guy and not every team is this team:

http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:Z6tlNUPyDrJM3M:http://images.art.com/images/products/large/10120000/10120666.jpg http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:aRitRFKkakj_sM:http://blog.mccannta.com/photos/uncategorized/wsox_angels_badcall.jpg (http://images.google.co.in/imgres?imgurl=http://blog.mccannta.com/photos/uncategorized/wsox_angels_badcall.jpg&imgrefurl=http://blog.mccannta.com/mccannta/sports/index.html&h=223&w=372&sz=18&hl=en&start=31&um=1&tbnid=aRitRFKkakj_sM:&tbnh=73&tbnw=122&prev=/images%3Fq%3DGame%2B2%2Bof%2Bthe%2B2005%2BALCS%26s tart%3D18%26ndsp%3D18%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%26hl%3 Den%26sa%3DN)

"You were out." "I thought the inning was over."



:AJ:

"Shut the **** up you bitches and deal with it."

ondafarm
05-15-2007, 10:47 AM
You'd think that eventually the Sox would have that huge breakout game, but it hasn't happened at all this year. In the past we were always having the problems with an extremely inconsistent offense. We'd beat the crap out of an all-star one day and then get 1 hit by a rookie the next. I don't see inconsistency as a problem here... we're not that lucky. I, like everyone else, am completely stumped by this.

Italics (actually italics & bold) are mine.

I'm not really stumped. The White Sox need to get back to what makes them a successful team: being a self-sacrificing bunch of bit players. And bit players who are well-schooled and disciplined. The thing about the 2005 team that is forgotten was that it was just a year removed from Jerry Manuel, a lousy but disciplinarian coach. When guys were asked to give themselves up to advance a runner there was no question about it. Everybody knew that winning was better than any individual stat. But they also had the discipline of recent long practices to fall back on.

Being a major league player is hard. Really hard. To stay in the majors most guys have to work harder than in any other profession I know. For an evening game (7:11) that means being at the park by about 11 AM for the hard workers. You do a weights work out, a running work out, get some extra batting practice in before the official start of the clock (4 hours before game time) and then you do your team stuff.

The way the current team is, they've gotten away from the high-discipline of the best major league teams. Nobody likes having a coach who insists on each player practicing every aspect of their game, every day. It takes a disciplinarian. And Ozzie isn't it. Nobody likes a coach who takes you to task if you show up late one day and only get your clock (4 hours) time in because you spent the extra hour with your kids. And Ozzie can't do that because he brings his sons along. I don't care how much the players like him, sometimes you have to do things you don't like in order to win. These Sox are capable of another World Series run, but not with Ozzie Guillen at the helm.

Ozzie's tricks are old and he's got to do things that hurt guys feelings in order to get wins. Leaving MacDougal out there in the first game of the Twins series cost the Sox that win. Batting Ozuna #2 in stead of Iguchi is costing the Sox games, but Ozzie will keep doing dumb stuff until he's replaced.

Ozzie is the problem.

RockJock07
05-15-2007, 10:54 AM
You all make very good points, but i think the problem lies with the lead-off spot. Pods was doing ok this year until he got hurt and now he can't see to to stay healthy. If KW truely said that there are the horses that Ozzie has to work with, then that would be very different from what he has said in the past.

After the 04 season, Kenny knew what the Sox had wasn't working and so far this year, the offense isn;t working, so in my opinion, i expect moves to be made to bring in someone with some speed at the top of the line-up. I would love Carl Crawford and i think Kenny should do all he can to get him here.

I don't know if i agree to building a team around the park because you still need guys to get on base otherwise it's just solo jacks and that's what's been happening for 1+ season now. The sox need a guy who can get Walks, singles, and doubles at the top of the lineup otherwise we are going to lose 4-1, 3-2 with all our runs coming via the solo HR. I would think about put Sweeney in the leadoff spot for the Yankee series because he's the only on in this line-up able to take any pitches right now.

ondafarm
05-15-2007, 11:43 AM
. . . I would think about put Sweeney in the leadoff spot for the Yankee series because he's the only on in this line-up able to take any pitches right now.

A valid point but I wouldn't do it. put too much stress on Sweeney right now and you might devastate him for a couple of years. I'd rather bring him along so and easy, get him his ABs and find someone else for the spot.

Tragg
05-15-2007, 12:43 PM
A valid point but I wouldn't do it. put too much stress on Sweeney right now and you might devastate him for a couple of years. I'd rather bring him along so and easy, get him his ABs and find someone else for the spot.

I agree with that on Sweeney- he's doing well, leave him alone.

I don't know if you're right or wrong re the discipline stuff; but those types have real problems managing major league teams, themselves.
I think Ozzie's strength is that the players do play hard, they come to play every day, and don't wallow in misfortune - they shrug it off.

As far as patience and approach, taking walks and taking pitches, etc. I don't see where that approach is a priority of the Sox.

JB98
05-15-2007, 01:04 PM
You all make very good points, but i think the problem lies with the lead-off spot. Pods was doing ok this year until he got hurt and now he can't see to to stay healthy. If KW truely said that there are the horses that Ozzie has to work with, then that would be very different from what he has said in the past.

After the 04 season, Kenny knew what the Sox had wasn't working and so far this year, the offense isn;t working, so in my opinion, i expect moves to be made to bring in someone with some speed at the top of the line-up. I would love Carl Crawford and i think Kenny should do all he can to get him here.

I don't know if i agree to building a team around the park because you still need guys to get on base otherwise it's just solo jacks and that's what's been happening for 1+ season now. The sox need a guy who can get Walks, singles, and doubles at the top of the lineup otherwise we are going to lose 4-1, 3-2 with all our runs coming via the solo HR. I would think about put Sweeney in the leadoff spot for the Yankee series because he's the only on in this line-up able to take any pitches right now.

Erstad has hit over .300 since moving into the leadoff spot. Granted, he is not the stolen-base threat that Pods is, but I honestly don't think he's the problem. The middle of the order just cannot do anything. They can't even get the easy RBIs with a man at third and less than two outs.

Foulke You
05-15-2007, 01:22 PM
There have been a lot of good points in this thread, however, to me, the key to this offense is home runs. As much as people like to think we're a grinder, smallball, smartball, Ozzieball bunch of players, the bottom line is that this team offensively is built around jacking home runs.

The long ball has been the focus of this offense for a better part of this decade and we even managed to win a World Series in 2005 with it. The Sox usually rank in the top 2 in HRs (usually trading spots with the Yankees for most of the season in this category). This year, we're about in the middle of the pack in HRs but the telling category is the RBIs. We're not hitting the homers when men are on base. Take a look at these telling 2007 team HR/RBI stat comparisons for teams with a similar amount of HRs:

White Sox- 37HRs 125 RBIs
Indians- 37HRs 171 RBIs
Red Sox- 39HRs 182 RBIs
Tigers- 39HRs 195 RBIs

The difference is that the Red Sox, Tribe, and Tigers are clearing the bases with HRs while the Sox are leaving them stranded. When your team is built around the longball and you lose your top table setter (Pods) and your leading HR hitter (Thome), it isn't surprising that the offense has struggled. However, I'm surprised at just how much they are struggling. History shows that this offense will start hitting more HRs and hitting more of them with runners in scoring position. When the team is healthy, our situational hitting and situational HR hitting will improve and this team will start winning in bunches with the pitching they have.

TheVulture
05-15-2007, 04:11 PM
The difference is that the Red Sox, Tribe, and Tigers are clearing the bases with HRs while the Sox are leaving them stranded.

The problem isn't when and how many homeruns are being hit, it's that there's no one on base most of the time. I would say the difference is those teams actually have runners on base. The best offense is going to strand the most runners, because they have the most runners on base to begin with.
.299 .369 .334 .348. Guess which is the Sox' OBP.

TheOldRoman
05-15-2007, 10:11 PM
This is, IIRC, what Kenny has said himself before. We play to our park...it's a launching pad, so they have guys hit for power for runs. I think it's BS, but he's said something to that effect before where we're not utilizing our park correctly if we're not slugging them out. I almost wish they'd built the park differently because we all know that good "hitting" teams are far less prone to slumps than good slugging teams that utilize a launching pad mentality
I haven't heard KW say that, but if they are tailoring the team to this park, it is a very dumb move. Why would you build a homerrun hitting team to play in a homerrun park? If it is a homer park, teams hit many more homers in it on average. That means that the homers are going to come, no matter what. Our opponents usually hit about the same number of homers in the Cell as the Sox do, and few teams have the power we do. If you play in a HR park, you don't need to go after bigtime HR hitters. If the Sox built a high average team, we would have a lot of 20-25 HR guys hitting 30-35.

Back to the question at hand, the problem is Greg Walker. He is a horrible hitting coach. A team with so many righties should absolutely kill lefthanded pitchers. Teams shouldn't go into prolonged slumps like this. With the class of hitters the Sox have, they should be able to consistently hit junkballers, mediocre journeymen, and rookie call-ups. Walker has no idea how to coach hitting, and that is the problem. Instead of changing a guy's swing, he tries to let the hitters find their own groove be watching tape of times when they had success. That is the equivalent of a teach saying "Uh, just read the book or something. I'm going to go have a smoke." Uribe's success this year has not been a product of Walker, nor was his success in Sept/Oct of 05. Sometimes a hitter needs to change his mechanics, change his swing. Walker says "these guys are good hitters. They made it to the bigs swinging like they do, so if I let them go about their thing, they will find success eventually."

The biggest indictment of Walker is that he is horrible at strategy. Instead of taking wild swings, hitters should be more disciplined. Too often, hitters go into a game with no idea how to go after a pitcher. This is especially apparent in our inability to hit anyone who throws under 90. Before a game against Santana last year (the game we beat him by scoring 2 runs), Walker was asked about strategy against Santana. He basically said "This guy is so good that there is no strategy against him. You can't make a strategy to hit him, so you just have to go up there, swing away, and hope to get some hits." I know Santana is great, but his comments are still ridiculous and inexcusable. You would never do worse against a pitcher after having prepared. He doesn't prepare the hitters. That is why they can't adjust. That is why they can't hit lefties. That is why they can't hit junkballers.

Until Walker is canned, this team wont have prolonged success. However, before he is fired, the team will revert to early 2006 form (7 runs a game, all on homers). People will say "all is right", and he will keep his job. Walker is the biggest thing standing between the Sox and a championship. Much bigger than Detroit or Cleveland.

ondafarm
05-15-2007, 10:23 PM
I haven't heard KW say that, but if they are tailoring the team to this park, it is a very dumb move. Why would you build a homerrun hitting team to play in a homerrun park? If it is a homer park, teams hit many more homers in it on average. That means that the homers are going to come, no matter what. Our opponents usually hit about the same number of homers in the Cell as the Sox do, and few teams have the power we do. If you play in a HR park, you don't need to go after bigtime HR hitters. If the Sox built a high average team, we would have a lot of 20-25 HR guys hitting 30-35.

Back to the question at hand, the problem is Greg Walker. He is a horrible hitting coach. A team with so many righties should absolutely kill lefthanded pitchers. Teams shouldn't go into prolonged slumps like this. With the class of hitters the Sox have, they should be able to consistently hit junkballers, mediocre journeymen, and rookie call-ups. Walker has no idea how to coach hitting, and that is the problem. Instead of changing a guy's swing, he tries to let the hitters find their own groove be watching tape of times when they had success. That is the equivalent of a teach saying "Uh, just read the book or something. I'm going to go have a smoke." Uribe's success this year has not been a product of Walker, nor was his success in Sept/Oct of 05. Sometimes a hitter needs to change his mechanics, change his swing. Walker says "these guys are good hitters. They made it to the bigs swinging like they do, so if I let them go about their thing, they will find success eventually."

The biggest indictment of Walker is that he is horrible at strategy. Instead of taking wild swings, hitters should be more disciplined. Too often, hitters go into a game with no idea how to go after a pitcher. This is especially apparent in our inability to hit anyone who throws under 90. Before a game against Santana last year (the game we beat him by scoring 2 runs), Walker was asked about strategy against Santana. He basically said "This guy is so good that there is no strategy against him. You can't make a strategy to hit him, so you just have to go up there, swing away, and hope to get some hits." I know Santana is great, but his comments are still ridiculous and inexcusable. You would never do worse against a pitcher after having prepared. He doesn't prepare the hitters. That is why they can't adjust. That is why they can't hit lefties. That is why they can't hit junkballers.

Until Walker is canned, this team wont have prolonged success. However, before he is fired, the team will revert to early 2006 form (7 runs a game, all on homers). People will say "all is right", and he will keep his job. Walker is the biggest thing standing between the Sox and a championship. Much bigger than Detroit or Cleveland.

While not certain I agree with everything you said, I concur with your conclusion.

Grzegorz
05-16-2007, 05:45 AM
The biggest indictment of Walker is that he is horrible at strategy. Instead of taking wild swings, hitters should be more disciplined. Too often, hitters go into a game with no idea how to go after a pitcher. This is especially apparent in our inability to hit anyone who throws under 90. Before a game against Santana last year (the game we beat him by scoring 2 runs), Walker was asked about strategy against Santana. He basically said "This guy is so good that there is no strategy against him. You can't make a strategy to hit him, so you just have to go up there, swing away, and hope to get some hits."

I could not disagree more with this series of statements. Hitting coaches do not teach discipline; discipline is inherent in the major league hitter. If you have no discipline at the plate you're not going to be a successful hitter.

As for hitting junk ball pitchers that comes from experience. Sure a hitting coach can show you film and he should. Sure a hitting coach should get you out there for extra batting practice. But discipline? That is left up to the hitter.

The reason the Chicago White Sox are not hitting is quite frankly because they're overrated. I heard, during the rain delay last night (05/15/07), that the return of Thome will get this team hitting again.

Can I ask the question as to how Thome will accomplish this?

wassagstdu
05-16-2007, 07:31 AM
The thing about the 2005 team that is forgotten was that it was just a year removed from Jerry Manuel, a lousy but disciplinarian coach. When guys were asked to give themselves up to advance a runner there was no question about it. Everybody knew that winning was better than any individual stat. But they also had the discipline of recent long practices to fall back on.
...
These Sox are capable of another World Series run, but not with Ozzie Guillen at the helm.
...
Ozzie is the problem.

So we owe the 2005 championship to Jerry Manuel? Are you nuts? The key to the team offense was Pods and Iguchi, who did not have the benefit of Jerry Manuel's brilliance. Since then we have lost Pods to repeated injury and Iguchi has decided to be a power hitter.

Your first post here was one of the best I have seen at WSI. As a teammate said of me, "How can anyone be so inconsistent?"

Frater Perdurabo
05-16-2007, 07:55 AM
While not certain I agree with everything you said, I concur with your conclusion.

I tend to agree as well.

Regardless of what the Sox do this year (and I want another World Series victory!), they must start integrating young position players, especially so they can afford to re-ink Mark Buehrle. I what Dye and Pods did to help win a World Series, but re-signing them would not be wise.

Sweeney is ready to start in the OF. As a bonus, he's the antithesis of all other Sox hitters. He takes pitches, works counts, uses the whole field and hits for good average. His power will develop. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that Anderson will earn the CF job next year. Although he Ks a lot, he does hit a lot of doubles, again something the Sox sorely lack. If both these guys are at the bottom of the lineup, while they aren't burners, they are fast enough that the Sox can put on the hit and run, bunt and/or generate some stolen bases to turn over the lineup.

Based on his performance in the role, I think Erstad might be worth keeping to play LF and lead off next year.

I think that given that they get above-average power from 1B, DH, 3B, SS, 2B and C (and AJ seemingly is developing more power as his average dips slightly), the Sox can get away with not having 30-HR power in each OF spot.

Hitmen77
05-16-2007, 10:46 AM
Doubleheader today. Sounds like as good a time as any for our bats to WAKE UP!!!!

This is getting very old. As far as the analysis goes, no matter how you slice it - small ball, long ball, Ozzie ball, grinder ball....whatever. We just can't keep going with Konerko, Dye, Crede, and Iguchi all hovering around the .200 mark.

FedEx227
05-16-2007, 10:57 AM
Doubleheader today. Sounds like as good a time as any for our bats to WAKE UP!!!!

This is getting very old. As far as the analysis goes, no matter how you slice it - small ball, long ball, Ozzie ball, grinder ball....whatever. We just can't keep going with Konerko, Dye, Crede, and Iguchi all hovering around the .200 mark.

Yeah, it's really an unbelievable occurance that our ENTIRE team is slumping. I just can't believe it every time I look at the box scores and see these averages.

kitekrazy
05-16-2007, 11:52 AM
To have four right-handed hitters slumping at the same time reminds many of us of the Frank-Maggs-PK-Lee enigma (part dynamo, part basket case) that was 2000-2004. These guys went hot and cold, usually all at the same time.

This is quite baffling. The only fix was a change in personnel in the off season. Maybe it's a curse.
A pattern that emerges is the hitter you rely on most gets injured often. The Sox seem to have it's share of injured DHs.

ondafarm
05-16-2007, 12:07 PM
So we owe the 2005 championship to Jerry Manuel? Are you nuts? The key to the team offense was Pods and Iguchi, who did not have the benefit of Jerry Manuel's brilliance. Since then we have lost Pods to repeated injury and Iguchi has decided to be a power hitter.

Your first post here was one of the best I have seen at WSI. As a teammate said of me, "How can anyone be so inconsistent?"

Perhaps I didn't make myself particularly clear. JM was a "lousy but disciplinarian" coach. That means everybody still had the benefits of all of his forced practice of all the stupid stuff that players hate but makes them good.

Three years of Ozzie not foisting that same amount of practice on everybody, stars included, has led to the Sox being inconsistent and inept at the little things they need to do to win tight games.

It was the combination of years of suffering under JM, then the appearance of Ozzie, which made the Sox so great in 2005.

kitekrazy
05-16-2007, 12:08 PM
This is only uninformed speculation on my part -- I have always thought that the Sox, like many other teams, build their offense around their park. I suspect that the philosophy of the Sox organization is that to win in U.S. Cellular Field you have to hit home runs. The park is relatively small and the gaps aren't very big. They therefore draft and acquire players based on their ability to hit for power. They then take the power hitters and encourage them to pull the ball to maximize their power. I can't remember the last time I saw Konerko hit a home run to the opposite field. Crede has become a pull hitter, too. Iguchi still goes the other way. I seem to recall Dye going the other way more in the past, too. Again, just anecdotal observations.

I think that's the way modern day baseball has become. Players are evaluated on HRs.
Complete baseball players are rare. I guess they call them 5 tool players. Look at most of the biggest sluggers in the AL and outside of their hitting they have major deficits in areas like running and defense. No one can bunt anymore. There's no more situational hitting.
The steroid era has ruined the purity of the game. It's all about homeruns.

itsnotrequired
05-16-2007, 12:18 PM
I think that's the way modern day baseball has become. Players are evaluated on HRs.
Complete baseball players are rare. I guess they call them 5 tool players. Look at most of the biggest sluggers in the AL and outside of their hitting they have major deficits in areas like running and defense. No one can bunt anymore. There's no more situational hitting.
The steroid era has ruined the purity of the game. It's all about homeruns.

Rubbish.

Paulwny
05-16-2007, 12:39 PM
Perhaps I didn't make myself particularly clear. JM was a "lousy but disciplinarian" coach. That means everybody still had the benefits of all of his forced practice of all the stupid stuff that players hate but makes them good.

Three years of Ozzie not foisting that same amount of practice on everybody, stars included, has led to the Sox being inconsistent and inept at the little things they need to do to win tight games.

It was the combination of years of suffering under JM, then the appearance of Ozzie, which made the Sox so great in 2005.

I can'y buy into this JM theory, of the position players in 2003 only 4 were on the 2005 team.

ondafarm
05-16-2007, 01:26 PM
I can'y buy into this JM theory, of the position players in 2003 only 4 were on the 2005 team.


Once again, I don't think JM was a good manager. Far from it, I think he would have managed the 1927 Yanks into a second place finish. But he did force guys to do their drills.

Of the key guys in 2005: Crede, Everett, Konerko, Rowand, Harris and Thomas were all with the Sox under JM.


Dye was an established star but with a record of injury, he was doing his drills.
Pods, Uribe and Ozuna were all marginal players struggling to get or stay at the major league level. They all did all of their drills and no doubt with gusto.

Iguchi was with the Daiei Hawks and even though his manager, Sadharu Oh, is considered lax by Japanese standards, the number of drills that Iguchi had to do for him would make most Americans blush.

AJ came up with Minny so he had harsh discipline. And once again, harsh discipline does not mean yelling at the players. It means setting strict requirements, adhering to them and enforcing the consequences. For Minny that means talented guys who refuse to learn to bunt may languish in the minors when they could be helping the major league team.

As an example of harsh discipline, my Japanese manager had a rule that you didn't play unless you'd been at the park (or on team business) six hours before gametime. We had a ten am game one Saturday and only eight of us had shown up by four am (and no pitcher.) One relief pitcher showed up at 4:06, so he was told he'd get the start if the eight of us batted for at least six minutes in the opening frame. I was awarded my first #5 assignment in the batting order (catchers normally bat #7 or #8.) Well, everybody knew to take a lot of pitches and two of the first three guys walked while never taking the bat off their shoulder. By the time I was up, the opposition had figured out what we were doing so I took two mediocre fastballs for cheap strikes and then fouled two more off. My third-base coach then signaled for me to back out of the box. I took two steps to talk to him but he pointed to our dugout. The manager was on the top step and motioned to his watch and then signed ten-oh-six. We'd stalled enough. He also gave me the swing away sign. I went back to the box and smacked the next mediocre fastball into the left center gap for a two run double. The reliever got his first start and our irregular eight got him his first win. Our closer hadn't bothered to show up until seven am so the scheduled starter, who'd shown up about six got his first career save.

RockyMtnSoxFan
05-16-2007, 01:36 PM
I think that's the way modern day baseball has become. Players are evaluated on HRs.
Complete baseball players are rare. I guess they call them 5 tool players. Look at most of the biggest sluggers in the AL and outside of their hitting they have major deficits in areas like running and defense. No one can bunt anymore. There's no more situational hitting.
The steroid era has ruined the purity of the game. It's all about homeruns.

That's how I feel too. If you read any of the media outlets (ESPN.com, SI, MLB, etc.) you notice that the things most often mentioned in game highlights are home runs. That's what everybody is interested in. I think it makes the game less interesting, because you lose the variety and depth of the game. Nobody cares about stolen bases because you can score more runs with a HR. Everyone is focused on HRs, because that is how you win ball games. It would be nice to say that home runs get a lot of attention but don't really matter (I sometimes make this argument myself), but the teams that win usually hit lots of homers.

I would like to see MLB encourage a return to fewer HRs: raise the mound, enforce the high strike, use humidors, make the balls looser, whatever it takes. I think that, coupled with a stronger testing policy, could bring an end to the steroids era. I doubt it will ever happen, but I can wish.

Back to the Sox offense, they need to forget about where the fences are and focus on hitting line drives up the middle and the other way. Until they can do that consistently, they will never be able to get any momentum. Home runs are an individual feat, and can take away momentum (nobody on base). When the offense can start stringing together consecutive hits, then I think they will all start to heat up.

PKalltheway
05-16-2007, 02:54 PM
Doubleheader today. Sounds like as good a time as any for our bats to WAKE UP!!!!

This is getting very old. As far as the analysis goes, no matter how you slice it - small ball, long ball, Ozzie ball, grinder ball....whatever. We just can't keep going with Konerko, Dye, Crede, and Iguchi all hovering around the .200 mark.
I hear ya on that one. Hopefully when the hitting does come around (which it is bound to with that good of a lineup), the pitching can stay consistent.

I know that I'm preaching to the choir when I say this, but the lineup needs to become more multi-dimensional. You know, don't just be jacking home runs all of the time to win games. Some better situational hitting is what the club needs. I saw from an earlier post that while the Sox are still up there with the big boys in the AL as far as home runs go, but they're far behind in RBI's. That means they just aren't doing well with their situational hitting. When that comes around, hopefully their good pitching can continue.

Besides, it isn't like the Sox are doing all that bad right now, thanks in large part to our pitching. If last year taught us anything, pitching will be the difference on whether or not the Sox make the playoffs, not the offense.

I'm not all that concerned about the offense, with a lineup that good, it's bound to come back around. I'm just hoping that the good pitching will continue.

UserNameBlank
05-16-2007, 03:56 PM
Can the Sox do this? Yes. Will they make the commitment? I don't know. When BA returns will he be able to bunt? I doubt it. IMHO every player should be able to make an attempt at bunting for a hit and both PK and Thome should be able to bunt for a sacrifice.
The Sox don't have much of a reason to follow a Twins-like system because the Sox do not rely on building from within anywhere near as much as the Twins do. The Twins are expected to take AAAA players like Ford, Tyner, Punto, Tiffee etc. and actually win with them. The Sox don't do that because when they have one of those players, like Aaron Miles for example, he is traded, and it is often for a major league piece that is a project like Uribe.

The only thing the Sox need to do is pay more attention to the development of fundamental skills with the small handful of players that may actually have a future with the team, like Sweeney and Valido. If KW doesn't think a guy is going to develop into a player worth a starting job, that player will be gone.

Frater Perdurabo
05-16-2007, 08:28 PM
The only thing the Sox need to do is pay more attention to the development of fundamental skills with the small handful of players that may actually have a future with the team, like Sweeney and Valido. If KW doesn't think a guy is going to develop into a player worth a starting job, that player will be gone.

OK, so why not teach those skills and instill discipline into the players that the Sox project to be starters based on their other skills?

Why not try to make good players better?

Why not try to augment skill sets?

The Sox don't do these things, and someone or several/many are responsible for it.

UserNameBlank
05-17-2007, 10:29 AM
OK, so why not teach those skills and instill discipline into the players that the Sox project to be starters based on their other skills?

Why not try to make good players better?

Why not try to augment skill sets?

The Sox don't do these things, and someone or several/many are responsible for it.
I agree with that and the Sox do need to improve in those areas. Sweeney, Anderson, Fields, Owens, Valido, Lucy, Hernandez, and any other position players that could one day become starters or bench players who play large roles on this team need to know how to play the fundamental game.

Then again, we've seen bad bunts from Ozuna, AJ, Erstad, Cintron, etc. and those guys are supposed to be solid in that area, so I guess you could teach and teach and teach all you want, but it is still up to the players to execute.

ondafarm
05-17-2007, 10:48 AM
I agree with that and the Sox do need to improve in those areas. Sweeney, Anderson, Fields, Owens, Valido, Lucy, Hernandez, and any other position players that could one day become starters or bench players who play large roles on this team need to know how to play the fundamental game.

Then again, we've seen bad bunts from Ozuna, AJ, Erstad, Cintron, etc. and those guys are supposed to be solid in that area, so I guess you could teach and teach and teach all you want, but it is still up to the players to execute.

I haven't seen either AJ or Erstad do a really bad job in a bunting situation. Maybe not an ideal one, but at least getting the fundamentals down.

Lip Man 1
05-17-2007, 12:16 PM
There have been a few chances this season where A.J. was called on to bunt and looked very poor doing it.

Lip

UserNameBlank
05-17-2007, 12:58 PM
There have been a few chances this season where A.J. was called on to bunt and looked very poor doing it.

Lip
He did, but in AJ's defense, one of those ****-ups can be attributed to Ozzie leaving his brain in Venezula before boarding a plane to Tucson.

AJ was up to bat against I think the Tigers, and it was late in the game and maybe even extra innings, I can't remember. Anyway, you have a hard-throwing LHP on the mound and a LH hitter who homered earlier that game and also just got under two others that on another day could have gone out. What does Ozzie decide to do with his most useful offensive player that day? Have him try to bunt the damn ball down the first base line and give up an out. On the first try, he did what most players probably do in that same situation, bunting the ball foul to the third base side. Inge and the pitcher IIRC run in on the play, and it is abundantly clear that had the ball been fair the Sox runner on 1B would have at least been thrown out at second, and maybe there's even a DP. So at the point where most managers would recognize their brain fart and take the bunt sign off, Ozzie has AJ repeat. And he does, and the Sox blow an out without advancing the runner.

The Sox have sucked quite a bit at bunting over the last two years, but in all fairness, Ozzie is not your traditional "smart" manager. There are several occaisions during a season where Ozzie will bunt in a dumbass situation and when the players mess up it ends up looking bad on them, instead of the veritable genious running things from the dugout.