Thursday, June 05, 2008

Game 59: Kansas City @ Chicago

Game Date: June 4, 2008
White Sox 6, Royals 4 / Box Score
WP: Dotel (3-2), LP: Gobble (0-1)
Royal Home Runs: Olivo (7), Teahen (5)
Royals Record: 23-36

In the abstract, if you were managing an extra inning game, and you had one relief pitcher left who could probably go three innings if you asked him to, and you looked down at the match up sheet and saw that the guy who was coming to the plate against the current pitcher you have on the mound is 4-for-5 with three home runs against him, what would you do?

That's the decision that Trey Hillman was faced with in the bottom of the 15th inning last night when Paul Konerko came to the plate against Jimmy Gobble. Of course, nothing happens in the abstract, except for art, and Hillman surely considered that Konerko is having a sub-par year by his standards, so he chose to allow Gobble to pitch to him and Konerko became 5-for-6 against Gobble with four home runs.

Game over.

You could pin this loss on the offense just as easily. While they did figure out a way to get back into the game, they failed to get even a single hit in the extra six frames. Obviously, you can't win if you don't hit.

In an effort to help the lineup offensively, Hillman announced that he was going to give Esteban German a try at shortstop for a few games. But that begs the question--if German was next in line for a shot at the position, then why exactly did the Royals call up Mike Aviles? He's played once since he got to KC, and he didn't even see any action last night, during a 15 inning game. Well, Hillman addressed that question after the game:

"There hasn't been a whole lot of opportunity for Mike Aviles," Hillman conceded. "He only had one game. I'm accountable for that, but I'm going to go with the guy who gives us the best at-bats."

I'm not going to try to compare minor league numbers to major league numbers, but have you looked at what German is doing at the plate this season? He's hitting .167 with an OBP of .226. Granted, he hasn't been given a lot of playing time, but he certainly hasn't made the most of the little action he has seen. Aviles was hitting .336 in Omaha with 10 HR and 42 RBI. Again, the numbers can't really be compared, but if you are looking for a jump start offensively, doesn't Aviles warrant at least a look?

The Royals will try to salvage the final game of the series tonight. Gil Meche (3-7, 5.35 ERA) will go up against Jose Contreras (5-3, 2.89). Meche is 6-2 in his career against the White Sox with a 4.09 ERA in 70.1 IP. Contreras is 8-4 against the Royals with a 3.41 ERA in 97.2 IP.

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