Fun game yesterday.
For me, the most interesting moment was in the 8th inning, when Gibby left Roberto Osuna out to start the inning, after he had pitched the previous two innings. He had thrown 24 pitches, to that point, but then he had to warm up 3 times: Once to come into the game, once to start the 7th and once to start the 8th. That's pretty unusual for a reliever, except for 'long relievers'. But we had the off day today and Osuna was a starter last year, and he was pitching well, so I thought good move.
I've always believed the more relievers you use in a game, the more likely you are going to find the one that just doesn't have it that day. All relievers have days when they just aren't quite right. If you run through 4 of them in a game, odds are that one of them will blowup.
Anyway, Osuna's in for the 8th, he gets Chris Young to ground out, on his 3rd pitch of the inning and then Gibby pulls him, to get Aaron Loup in there to face Alex Rodriguez. I didn't understand that. If you only were going to give Osuna 3 more pitches, why have him start the inning. If he could have gone more than 3 more pitches, why not have Osuna face ARod. ARod does hit lefties much better than right-handers doesn't he. (goes checks, well in a handful of at bats this year, he's hitting righties better, OPS vs RHP .864, vs LHP .794, career is very close vs RHP .943, LHP .934). Ok, so bringing a lefty to face ARod wasn't as strange as I thought.
Maybe it was something in ARod's numbers against Loup? Nope. Before yesterday he was 1 for 2 against Aaron, now 1 for 3.
Still not sure why the move. It goes against the line that you like the new reliever to start the inning. Let him come in with a clean sheet and all.
Anyway, Loup got the last two outs of the inning, allowing just a Mark Teixeira walk, and we won. So all is good. If Loup blew things up, we'd be talking about this more. Either way it is a curious move. I'd love to hear the explanation.
Ryan Goins seems to be hitting the ball much harder than in the past. He had that nice triple last night (helped along by a lousy RFer). He turned on the pitch nicely and made good contact. His numbers aren't great yet, hitting .255/.296/.353, which is a much better shade of 'not great' than he's had in the past, but it seems like he's hitting the ball better than his stats suggest.
FanGraphs has him at a 26.8% line drive rate, much improved on his 18.2% last year. If he keeps doing that, life would be good.
I don't know if he can keep it up, and I'd like him to take walks occasionally, he has 2 in 56 PA (with 10 strikeouts) but he's looking less like an automatic out at the plate than in past years. I like him as a guy that can be a defensive replacement for Reyes and give Reyes a day off once a week. His defense is fun to watch, if he can hit some, that's a nice bonus.
Mark Buehrle had his best start of the year, even if it was only 5 innings long. I have a hard time telling if he was really that much better, or if he was getting luckier. He does tend to throw the ball and hope they hit it at a fielder, but yesterday there seemed to be few balls crushed. He seemed to give his fielders more of a chance. And he did have 3 strikeouts, 1 that was very nicely timed, in the 5th inning with 2 on and 1 out.
Perhaps he could have been left out there longer, but I think Gibby did right by getting him out while things were good, especially with the off day.
It looks like Buehrle will come up far short of 200 innings, and I hope that the streak doesn't start playing on Gibby's mind, but if he can keep us in games and give us 5 or 6 innings a start, we can live with it.
Chris Colabello had a very nice 4 for 4 at the plate. He looks (to challenge Buck and Pat for a moment) like a hitter. It is too bad that, when guys get healthy (please one day, can our players be healthy) that we don't really have a position for him. He's a born DH. He might be ok at first base. As an outfielder? He's likely better than I would be, but not by enough to make us want to see him play out there.
I hope we can keep him around to pinch hit and fill in occasionally.