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From Hero To Goat

by Mike DePilla
Friday, June 26, 2009

Baseball is the ultimate day to day sport- just ask AJ Pierzynski. Yesterday I was heaping praise on the guy for his clutch hitting and stamina behind the plate.

Today he screwed up.

Yes, AJ caused the most profanities among Sox fans with his first-pitch, bases-loaded, inning-ending double play ground ball. (Can the guy take the first pitch ever with runners on base?) But really, it was a lack of execution by the whole team that once again did the Sox in.

The thing is, this particular Sox team is never going to be good in one-run games. When you have to pinch-run for your number 3, 4, 5 and 6 hitters... that's your four best hitters... in every late game situation, there is something wrong. One run games are often run by taking the extra base and scoring on a base hit. To do that, the Sox have to pull out their base-cloggers after they get on, sacrificing any chance of having a major league batting line up in extra innings.

Instead, the other team has to completely gift wrap a run for the Sox to score without the longball in those situations.

It doesn't help that the Sox have to be the worst team at getting a runner in from third with less than two outs. At some point, I don't question the batters' ability, but their mindset. What is the game plan up there, swing wildly and hope to lift a lazy fly ball into the outfield?

I'm not sure I would have pinch hit Josh Fields in the 9th inning, but once he drew a walk why did he not steal second base? Down by one, two outs in the ninth with a speedy runner on first and a slap hitter at the plate. Seems like the perfect situation to try and swipe second base, allowing Pods to tie the game with a base hit. Instead, Fields held his ground and Pods ended up striking out.

Little things like that need more attention and the Sox need to get out of the station to station nightmare. Next year things might be different, but right now it's live the solo homer, die by the solo homer. That's a frustrating formula.

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