Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Hitless Wonders

The Word Series-winning 1906 Chicago White Sox were known as the Hitless Wonders. As a team, they batted .230, and they hit just seven homers all season. Even for the deadball era, that was a low total.

Last night's lineup would've fit in perfectly.

When Vinny Castilla is hitting cleanup and it's not 1995, you're in trouble.

Yet, somehow, they scratched out just enough runs to win. And more amazingly, they did it sans hit.

HBP, Walk, Flubbed Sac Bunt, Sac Fly and that was all they needed. It was a small-ball fetishists biggest fantasy. Somewhere, Buster Olney is gazing longingly at Derek Jeter, but thinking about that rally.

The Majority Whip was an easy call. Ryan Drese lobbed shotput after shotput up to the plate. And time and time again, the Bucco batters pushed it to the ground to an infielder.

I was at the game, so I couldn't compare, but I think it's probably safe to say he got his arm angle higher again, the way it was on his first start.

He gave up one run, in the first, after Brad Wilkerson misplayed a liner that went over his head. In Brad's fairness, it was a scorching line drive to straight center -- the type of hit that doesn't have a normal style of spin and doesn't tail off normally. Wilkerson pirouetted repeatedly, turning every which way, but never quite getting there. Darryl Ward hit a VERY soft flare to left that just stuck in the grass like a lawn dart, scoring the team's only run.

  • The defensive play of the game goes to Cristian Guzman. With the team clinging to that one-run lead, the Pirates had runners on second and third with nobody out. Drese lobbed another shotput that was hit to Guzman, who fired strongly and accurately to Brian Schneider who easily tagged the runner. More importantly, the runner on second held. Drese escaped the inning unscathed.

  • Wil Cordero received two loud ovations from the small-ball fetishists for two weak fly balls he hit.

    All Cordero has done this season (other than waste space) is hit weak fly balls. He had the good fortune that runners were on base this time. One advanced a runner from second to third. Another drove in the game-winning run. And both times, he got applauded as if he were doing something right.

  • Chad Cordero had another strong, dominant 1,2,3 inning. If he keeps this up, his WHIP will actually be in line with his ERA.

  • Brian Schneider looked like he was having a hard time catching/blocking some of Drese's pitches. During the seventh, he completely missed a high pitch that went for a passed ball (a cross-up?), and during that same inning, he flopped all over, doing his best Sparky the Sea Lion impersonation.

    He probably has bruises on his stomach today.

  • Frank Senior Moment

    With Brad Wilkerson on first, Frank couldn't help himself. He just had to put his footprint on the game, pulling the anti-Weaver: the hit-n-run.

    Predictably, Junior Spivey tried hacking at a low and away slider. The catcher fumbled it for a second, fired to second, and still had Wilkerson easily. Another failed HNR. Another CS. Another run prevented.

    Worse, because Spivey had to hack at a ball way out of the zone to protect the runner, he was now behind 1-2, instead of being ahead 2-1. Spivey tapped the next pitch weakly to the infield for the second out.

    I can't remember a time this season when the HNR has worked. It must've at some point, but be damned if I can remember.

    Regardless, the sooner Frank forgets that sign, the sooner the team scores more runs.

  • Homestand Goal:
    Homestand Record:

    We need every win we can get now. July won't be pretty.


    • I'd put that bunt in the Senior Moment file as well. No outs, two men on, a hot hitter who already has a double off this pitcher at the plate, and you bunt him?! For Cordero, Schneider and Guzman? Ye gods. We got lucky, here. I'd like to see a stat on how often throwing to a base other than first on a sac bunt works out. Seems like it fails to get an out, via error or just not making the play, more often than not.

      By Blogger Carl, at 6/29/2005 9:46 AM  

    • I don't think the bunt was a smart play, but with runners on 1/2, that's one of the few times that I like it.

      You're right about having to consider the batters coming up, though. I guess he had faith in Wil Cordero's fly ball-making ability!

      Your other observation about bunts is something that I've wondered about as well. It really seems like teams try and make the cute play far too often.

      Regardless, we lucked into those runs.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 6/29/2005 9:48 AM  

    • Drese's arm angle was up and down through the game. You could tell he was getting some dugout coaching from St. Claire.

      By Blogger Yuda, at 6/29/2005 10:22 AM  

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