Game 28: Dissecting the eighth inning

Brad Ausmus’ summation of the eighth inning was succinct for the television cameras.

“In the eighth inning, they swung the bats well enough to beat us,” he said.

He went into a little more detail on the decisions that led up to it.

“It really was lining up fairly well, considering the starter goes five,” Ausmus said of the bullpen. “You’re somewhat piecing it together. But on any given night, someone can have an off night.”

Because Al Alburquerque, Tom Gorzelanny and Angel Nesbitt worked two outs apiece to cover the sixth and seventh, Ausmus had little backup if Joba Chamberlain struggled in the eighth. Alex Wilson wasn’t available after tossing 3 1/3 innings the night before, and Joakim Soria was on call for the ninth, leaving Blaine Hardy as the only backup.

“Hardy’s the only guy that can pitch multiple innings at that point down there,” Ausmus said.

So Ausmus went with Chamberlain with a three-run lead. But the rally that extended the lead to three runs also extended the lineup to the point that Nick Castellanos was due up in the ninth. That played into Ausmus’ decision not to use Andrew Romine as a defensive replacement in the eighth.

“It was a consideration,” Ausmus said, “but then we came around to the point where his bat was going to be up the following inning.”

Once Chamberlain retired his first two batters, it didn’t look like it would matter. Then Micah Johnson’s single reset the lineup, and Adam Eaton hit a hard liner to third.

Castellanos was playing in to defend against the bunt. It left him less reaction time for the liner that followed.

“It’s a line drive bullet right at the guy,” Ausmus said. “It’s not like it’s an easy play. It’s a line drive off a left-handed bat, which you generally don’t see.”

Said Castellanos: “It was just a hard-hit line drive, but catchable. Should’ve caught it.”

Up came Melky Cabrera, 2-for-27 against left-handed pitchers on the season after Gorzelanny had come on to retire him his last time up. Ausmus had Hardy available to try it again, but opted against it.

Ausmus did not mention matchups, though Cabrera was 0-for-2 against Chamberlain, and 2-for-4 against Hardy.

“The one that pitch we’d like to change would be the three-run home run to Melky,” James McCann said, “but other than that, they just put good swings on it.”

The slider was on a 2-1 pitch.

“I don’t know whether he was sitting on it or reacting to it,” McCann said. “Whatever it may be, he put a good swing on a pitch that a lot of hitters don’t hit out. Just gotta tip your cap to him and move on to the next pitch.”

Said Chamberlain: “Obviously I didn’t execute the pitch that I wanted to in the right spot. He did his job.”

At this point, Ausmus could’ve gone to Hardy in a tie game. Again, the lack of depth leads him to stick with Chamberlain, thinking about extra innings.

“Because it’s tied, you have to be more aware,” Ausmus said. “But even if it’s 7-6 or 6-5, you’ve gotta be conscious of the fact that this game is not over and it could go extra innings. You don’t want to end up with nobody left down there. If you were to bring in Blaine Hardy to face a lefty and they tie it anyway, now you’re really up a creek without a paddle.”

In the end, McCann might have had the best summation when asked about the opportunities to add on runs.

“They played a good game to come back,” McCann said, “but at the same time, it’s hard not to feel like we beat ourselves.”

13 Comments

How many times Chamberlain have to screw up before Ausmus finally comes to the conclusion practically everyone else has that he should never have a chance to lose a game again. He did it in the playoffs so much that fans of opposing teams cheered when he came in. This White Sox loss will come back to haunt us later in the season and the defeat rests totally on Ausmus. As a former catcher you would hope he would be smarter about these thing.

I think it was pretty clear in the article above he had no options. I guess he could of brought in Chamberlain before the 8th so he had guys left in the BP for the 8th. But the real problem is, since Nathan went down we have no setup guy. We need a solid dependable setup guy and the BP would fall into place.

Could it be that this job is too much for him? He took out a pitcher who threw only 7 pitches and easily could have pitched the 8th. Whose idea was it to put Joba in? His or one of his assistants? Is he taking the blame for them or was it totally his call?

Ausmus is turning into Leyland Jr. with his dumb, stubborn decisions. Brad, no matter how many times you send Joba to the mound, he is still the same Joba. No amount of fairy dust will change that.

Yes. Yes. Why is it you can see this Kate and Leyland Jr can’t? Joba may be a nice guy that everyone loves in the dugout, but even his mates must shudder every time Ausmus hands him the ball. This was a win ready to go in the books. Then he leaves him in when it’s obvious to even the hot dog vendor that he’s not going to get anyone out. We could have at least gone into extra innings deadlocked at 6 to 6. Trust me this White Sox team will be much better the next time we play them. This loss was avoidable and we will wish we had it back. 3 1/2 hours of wasted effort.

“it’s obvious to even the hot dog vendor that he’s not going to get anyone out” – He got the first 2 guys out.

I think even Joba was surprised with the first two outs. There must have been someone who could have done better after the 3 run homer and series of hits. That’s it ,Joba? If that’s the case someone didn’t do their job in the off season. I was sure Joba was going to go the way of Coke. Right now I would love to have Coke back. Probably the Cubs fans would welcome that. Relief has been a problem for the last three years. Winning the division was the good news and Winning the division was the bad news. It covered up a lot of post season failures. Finally, when Brad was hired we heard that his experience as a catcher was going to be his strong suit. Really?

Putting the entire blame on Brad would indicate that he had a wide choice of relievers at his disposal, which he did not. Simon only went five and Alburquerque was getting knocked around. No matter who was on the mound for the eventual meltdown, the only sure bet was that Ausmus would be blamed for it.
I do wish Brad had gone with Romine in the 8th. Nick’s defense is horrendous and Romine has actually been a better hitter anyway. They talked about it but reached what I thought was the wrong decision. Maybe next time they’ll do it differently.

A whole bunch of us wanted the club to go into 2015 with the assumption that Rondon wouldn’t be available. One simple bullpen acquisition would have done wonders. Something similar to the Gorzelanny deal.

Not putting the entire blame on Brad. But, he does make some poor bullpen decisions, especially when it comes to getting a guy off the mound before it’s too late. Rich is correct about not counting on Rondon, that should have been a real consideration for DD. Arrowsmith said it best, “dream on”.

I can’t dissect the 8th inning because I still haven’t digested it. Joba, anymore, is only useful in situational settings and used limitedly. Of course, if Nick had caught the ball, maybe the outcome would have been different. On the other hand, look how many people got left on base.

Brad’s explanations of things are a bit self-serving. The comment that “It was a consideration,” Ausmus said, “but then we came around to the point where his bat was going to be up the following inning.” is almost laughable. Why would it be a serious consideration to have a 3 run lead and need Casty’s bat? He is not hitting, been horrible lately, Romine is hitting better than Nick and Robertson ( tough RHP) was going to be brought in for the 9th. That is a very hollow explanation.
As to Joba, he is on the roster. Big deal. That does not mean you HAVE to use him, or use him in the 8th. Nesbitt had thrown 7 pitches. SEVEN.
It will be interesting to see how he handles this stuff next time.
The way this team is hitting, the bullpen, the rotation and the managing all point to some other team taking the central.
It can certainly be overcome but I don’t see the magic happening with the cast of characters as they are.

Being a Tiger fan and living in Chicago is not easy. The Tiger Management should view a replay of the game with “The Hawk” and Steve Stone in the booth. Unfortunately, besides being obnoxious, they make a lot of sense. You could almost hear the giggle in their voice when Joba came in to pitch. They also were critical of the the Tigers management when Tiger runners were in scoring position. They gave many sighs of relief and felt the Sox were very lucky to be only losing by 3 runs. They were very complimentary in their comments about Miguel Cabrera, but always after he failed to do anything with bases loaded and two men on base. The wonderment was obvious when Ausmus left Joba in. They were also very, very, happy. Opposing teams will soon list him on their roster.

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