White Sox Good, Bad, & Indifferent: Indians 10, White Sox 8

JJ SSenior Writer IMarch 31, 2008

I'd like to thank my good friends at Rock M Nation for this idea that I have stolen (with approval, of course) and will apply to as many Sox games as I can this year. First up: Opening Day, March 31.

Box Score


The offense

This game could have gone in two directions after Mark Buehrle gave up seven runs in the second: The Sox could have wrote the game off as a loss after getting down by five runs to last year's Cy Young winner CC Sabathia, or they could have fought back and chipped away at the lead.

They chose the latter, and behind four runs combined between Nick Swisher and Orlando Cabrera, they battled back and ultimately knocked Sabathia out of the game in the sixth before tying the game against the vaunted Indians bullpen.

Jim Thome, who was previously hitless in 11 career at-bats against Sabathia, slammed a pair of two-run home runs while Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye, and AJ Pierzynski added four RBI of their own.

The way the lineup performed today made me extremely confident that this group will perform more like they did in 2006 than in 2007, even though it is very early in the season.

Nick Masset

Masset, who barely made the roster out of spring training, came in during the second inning after it became apparent that Buehrle wasn't going to get any of these Indians hitters out.

He promptly turned in 4.1 innings of two-hit ball, keeping the White Sox in the game and in a position to make a comeback.

Boone Logan

There has been a growing school of thought within the White Sox organization that believes the 23-year-old Logan will have a breakout year in 2008 after struggling mightily in 2006 and 2007.

Logan came in and retired Grady Sizemore, Jason Michaels, and Travis Hafner in order, freezing Sizemore with a nasty curveball and making Hafner look silly with the same pitch to pick up two strikeouts.


The umpiring

Yeah, yeah, yeah, they're human. I know this being a little league umpire myself. But anybody who watched the game will tell you that this umpire crew cost the White Sox three huge runs because of missed or bad calls.

First, AJ Pierzynski was called out at first when it was apparent that Ryan Garko's foot was not on the bag.

A run would have scored if the correct call had been made, although I have the least problem with this call. First base umpire Brian Gorman was in position to make the call and simply missed it—something that will happen over the course of a game.

It's the next two calls that were egregiously horrendous.

With the game tied and the bases loaded in the eighth inning, Cabrera hit a slow chopper to Indians third baseman Casey Blake, who made an inaccurate throw home to catcher Kelly Shoppach. Unable to get the force at home due to the poor throw, Shoppach attempted to tag Crede, who he clearly missed.

However, home plate umpire Gerry Davis was out of position and could not see the play, deciding to call Crede out when there was no possible way that he could have seen whether he was tagged or not.

Why Davis, a veteran umpire, was out of position on a slow-developing play is completely beyond me. He thought he saw a tag, but was out of position and had no way of knowing what the right call was.

The next batter up was Thome, who hit a broken-bat chopper to second base that looked like a sure double-play ball. Cabrera made a hard, clean slide that was very similar to the one Blake laid on him earlier in the game to break up a double play. 

However, second base umpire Bruce Dreckman decided that Cabrera's slide was too far from the bag, despite the glaring fact that Cabrera touched the bag in his slide. He called interference on Cabrera, which meant that Thome was out as well and the go-ahead run that would have scored was wiped out.

That play reeked of an umpire trying to be bigger than the game. Had he not called interference and had Eric Wedge come out and argue, Dreckman could have easily told Wedge that he called it the same when Blake had his slide. 

The best umpires are the ones who go unnoticed during a game. This crew horribly failed at that and should be put under review by Major League Baseball, mainly for the terrible positioning of Davis and the extremely questionable call of Dreckman.

Mark Buehrle

After quickly retiring the Indians in order in the first, Buehrle was absolutely lit up in the second, giving up seven hits, one walk, two home runs, and seven runs before being lifted in favor of Masset.

While I'm not going to hit the panic button on Buehrle just yet, he's going to need to come back out with a strong performance against Detroit on Sunday to keep fans from jumping off the ledge.

Octavio Dotel. All the problems with the umpires were minuscule compared to the problems Dotel had in the bottom of the eighth. He threw 33 pitches in the inning—18 for balls, 15 for strikes—but still nearly managed to get out of it unscathed.

He worked a 1-2 count to Blake before laying a fastball right down the middle, which Blake crushed for a three-run double. Dotel really struggled in spring training and needs to get his act together for this White Sox bullpen to have any depth in the late innings.

For now, Ozzie Guillen should stick to Scott Linebrink in the eighth until Dotel improves.


Alexei Ramirez

In his major-league debut, Ramirez looked lost at some points against CC Sabathia. However, as the game went on, he was more patient and took some pitches nicely.

While he ended the day 0 for 4 with three strikeouts and a walk, he looked like he was making adjustments as the game was going on. 

Joe Crede

Like Ramirez, there were times when Crede looked absolutely lost at the plate in his first regular season game since last June.

He did pick up a key double late in the game off Rafael Betancourt and made a couple of nice plays at third, but he's a long way away from making me forget about Josh Fields.

Ozzie Guillen

In all honesty, Guillen should have got himself ejected after the interference call by Dreckman. While it was good that he went out and argued, getting ejected may have got the whole team to rally around the fact that they were getting cheated by the umpires. 

I'll usually try to keep these a bit shorter, but I had to air my grievances with the umpiring crew somehow, right?

Next up: 4/2, Javier Vazquez vs. Fausto Carmona, 6:05 CST


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