I come here not to defend Box, but to bury him
Given a game-winning situation with Olerud, who can’t hit lefties and hasn’t.. um, almost ever… and a lefty pitching, where one hit/run will win the game, why not pinch-hit for Olerud (this season, .243/.327/.309 v LHP) with:
C-B Ben Davis (.278/.333/.556 v LHP)
Pat Borders, C-R, who hit .348 with 12 doubles, a triple, and a homer, 7 BB and 11 K in 83 AB v LHP at Tacoma
Chad Meyers, UT-R, who hit .314 with 5 doubles, a triple, and a homer, 8 BB and 10 SO in 86 AB v LHP at Tacoma
Jamal Strong, OF-R who hit .278 with a double, triple, and homer and 6 BB, 6 SO in 36 AB v LHP at Tacoma
Bleah. What a dumb move that was.
Question of morality: If you saw Rafael Palmeiro walking down a dark alley tommorrow and knew you wouldn’t get caught, would you take out his knees? I think I’d be tempted. He’s the new age Brian Downing. Just kills us.
I’m going to defend Box here, as well. Benitez has pitched extremely well since the trade, and this was a good spot to use him. It just didn’t work.
Off-the-cuff game preview: Texas at Seattle
The Rangers are starting a lefty (Tony Mounce), which should bode well for the M’s. As a team this season, they’ve hit .285/.358/.428 vs. LHP, as opposed to .268/.340/.407 vs. RHP. Much of this advantage is thanks to Ichiro, who boasts a reverse platoon split this year, Randy Winn, who has hit lefties quite well. Other lefty maulers include Edgar (1.049 OPS) and Ben Davis (.556 SLG). Oddly, Bret Boone has hit RHP much better than LHP this year.
Jason’s batting order for the night would be: RF Ichiro, CF Cameron, LF Winn, DH Edgar, 2B Boone, C Davis, 3B Guillen, 1B Olerud, SS Sanchez. These are the nights when it would be really nice to have Greg Colbrunn in place of John Olerud, but hey, what are you gonna do?
On the other side of things, I’m concerned about Ryan Franklin tonight. He’s given up the second-most homers (32) of any pitcher in Major League Baseball, and he’s facing the team that’s hit more homers than any team in Major League Baseball. Strangely, Franklin’s homers are second only to another Franklin, Wayne Franklin of the Brewers (35). In any event, we all know the Rangers are capable of putting runs on the board. Franklin will likely be facing some combination of A-Rod, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark Teixeira and Hank Blalock in the middle of the batting order, and that ain’t shabby.
Mounce has walked 22 in 36.2 major league innings this season, so you’re probably thinking it would be a good idea for the M’s to be patient up there and take a ton of walks. See, I’d normally think that too, but frankly they’ve been hitting so poorly lately I’d like to see them be a bit more aggressive. Guys like Cameron and Olerud in particular have looked so, well, passive lately. Olerud seems to get down 0-2 before even taking the bat off his shoulders. So I say take your hacks, boys, and try to jump on this rookie early in the game. After all, he’s allowing hitters a .320 average this season.