Through three games the White Sox’s offense has scored 12 runs while batting .154, and manager Ozzie Guillen is already threatening changes after the lineup combined for 12 strikeouts last night:
When we built this club, I didn’t want people to strike out, and we did too much. If they continue to strike out like that, then we find another approach. With the ball club we have, we can’t be striking out like that. … And they can say whatever they want to say–good pitching, cold weather, whatever it is. Too many strikeouts.
When you talk about this ball club, we can’t have the luxury to strike out with people on base. I think this ball club, we have to put the ball more in play, make things happen. … I’ve seen so many strikeouts with people on base. I know it’s the third game of the season and I know it’s cold, but we had too many strikeouts.
Fair enough, Ozzie, but what do you think of all the strikeouts?
Certainly no manager likes it when his team strikes out a dozen times in one game–and particularly a manager who had one of the lowest strikeout rates in baseball when he was a player–but the White Sox had a total of just six strikeouts in the first two games, have the fourth-fewest strikeouts in the league overall this season, and are actually the only team in the league with more walks than strikeouts right now.
In other words, imagine how worked up Guillen will get if the White Sox actually do start striking out a lot. Incidentally, when Guillen and the White Sox won the World Series in 2005 they had the sixth-most strikeouts in the league.
With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.
Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.
Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.
After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.