Okay, I just can’t let this one go. I’ll preface this by stating that I had no action on the Rays/White Sox game on Monday evening. So this isn’t one of those sour grapes rants. It’s just a description of some truly horrendous decision making that might very well have cost the White Sox a critical win.
Here’s the scenario. Bottom of the ninth, Rays up 5-4. White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez gets the Chisox going with a single and he proceeds to steal second base. Adam LaRoche then delivers a single to center, so it’s first and third for the hosts with no one out. They’re now a favorite to at least tie the game.
Oh wait, scratch that first and third and no outs. Ramirez gets waved home and he’s easily thrown out on a play that’s not even close. This is baseball at its absolute worst.
First of all, unless the runner is going to tally standing up, there is no way he should be trying to score in this situation. Secondly, Ramirez is trying to score on Kevin Kiermaier.
Kevin Kiermaier is the number one rated player in all of major league baseball in defensive WAR. That’s right, his 18.9 figure is the absolute top of the heap. If you’ve seen him play, you know that Kiermaier is a sensational defender.
So not only did the White Sox take a very bad gamble, they also did so against the best defensive player in baseball for the 2015 season to date.
I’ll state this very simply and bluntly. If the third base coach doesn’t know enough to stop Ramirez in this spot, particularly with who’s playing center field for Tampa Bay, he probably should not be a third base coach at the major league level.
Mistakes happen all the time. Most are excusable. This one wasn’t.
I went 2-1-1 on Monday. The Cubs game ended up getting postponed, I won with the Padres and somehow with the Braves, and took a loss with Oakland. Nice gain for the night and hopefully more profits on the way this evening.
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No result on the Monday free play, as the weather in Pittsburgh caused a postponement between the Cubs and Pirates. I’ll look at tonight’s clash between those same teams for the Tuesday comp.
CUBS (Arrieta) @ PIRATES (Happ)
Take: CUBS -125 (Don Best consensus line at publication time)
The Pirates made some minor adds at the deadline, with one of this pickups being lefty JA Happ. The veteran southpaw will make his Bucs debut tonight. Happ draws a very tough mound adversary this evening as Jake Arrieta throw for the Cubs.
I see a big edge here for Arrieta. He’s had an outstanding season to date. Errata has now arrived at that point where even when he’s not at his best, he’ll usually find a way to grind out six innings and give his team a decent chance to win the game.
The Pirates should be thrilled if they can get six okay frames from Happ. He was really struggling for the Mariners and while the change in scenery might be beneficial, Happ is definitely not what I’d call a go with guy at the present time. Happ has had serious command issues of late. His control has been less than stellar and his strikes are getting too much of the plate on a regular basis. Happ doesn’t have great stuff to begin with, and if he’s not locating properly, he’s can get overwhelmed by big league hitters.
With the rainout on Monday night, the Cubs five-game winning streak remains intact. So even though the overall team data would favor the Pirates, that’s more than offset by the edge on the mound with Arrieta vs. Happ and the current form that favors the Cubs. The oddsmakers have made a good adjustment with the road team a decent sized favorite, but I believe there’s ample reason to accept the price and play the Cubs as road chalk.