Originally posted on Grab Some Bench  |  Last updated 4/9/13
The White Sox fell to the nasty Washington Nationals in DC Tuesday night by the score . Let's take a look at the main topics of discussion and takeaways from the ball game, starting with the bulldog ... Peavy's untimeliness can certainly be a head-scratcher. Credit: ESPN     Peavy Starts Great, Finishes Poorly Although going into Nationals Park to face dominant lefty and former White Sox farm-hand Gio Gonzalez is a very tall task, Jake Peavy's start has to classify as at least a bit disappointing. The 'Jakemeister' started off quickly, letting up just 2 hits, facing the minimum, and fanning four hitters through the first three innings of the game. But after that, he started to miss his spots, leave the ball up, and was hurt because of it. After Ryan Zimmerman drove in the Nats' first run in the 4th inning on a sac fly following Denard Span and Bryce Harper singles, things really got sloppy. Ian Desmond crushed his 2nd home run in 3 games to give Washington the lead, and although it looked like Peavy's night should've been done after he got through that inning, manager Robin Ventura thought otherwise. Denard Span (yep, that damn guy) led off the 6th with a double (what's new) and no.2 hitter Jason Werth followed with a 2-run bomb to give the Nationals a 2-run edge. Just 3 batters later, Adam LaRoche snapped an 0-15 slump with a 2-run dinger of his own before Ventura finally went to the bullpen and stopped the bleeding. Peavy's final line looked like this: 5.1 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 7 K's. His early season ERA now stands at 5.56 through 2 starts. Ventura Unaware, Stubborn, or just Wrong? So let's go back to that dreadful 6th inning that seemed to decide the game, when Robin Ventura decided to stick with Peavy, who'd been getting his pitches up in the zone consistently and was getting hit harder & harder as the game progressed ... First, it's important to note that sometimes, baseball managers are just wrong about the decisions they make with their pitchers; it's baseball, and that's just the nature of the game. But leading off the 6th inning was Denard Span, noted White Sox killer who had seen a lot of pitches from Peavy in the game (and in his Minnesota days, for that matter) to that point. So I'm not quite sure why you'd want Peavy going against him, which I was saying before Span ripped a leadoff double. But after that at-bat, you definitely take him out, right? Well not so fast. Peavy got yet another pitch up out over the plate that Werth hurt into the left field stands. And again, Ventura thought Peavy should stay out there ... which as we've already laid out, only bit the Sox in the behind even more. There's 3 possible reasons why Ventura would stick with him ... 1. He wanted Jake to finish his bulldog-like effort on a high instead of coming out on a negative note 2. He was unaware he could utilize the double-switch so that the pitchers' spot in the batting order, which was due up first in the top of the 7th inning, wouldn't have to lead off the frame 3. To save the bullpen going forward and let Peavy eat up some more innings But I can't stress how clear it was that Peavy was clearly done-zo at least 3 different times before Ventura actually pulled him. So which ever of the 3 reasons (assuming it was indeed one of them), either way you have to chalk it up to bad management. Yes, Ventura has been a great hire for the Sox, and yes he'll only improve as a manager. But it's important to recognize his flaws, and leaving in starters too long can certainly be one of them from time to time. The issue with leaving Peavy in too long goes back all the way to the Ozzie days, and it needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Trailing Offense This has been an interesting trend with this offense, as it seems like they hit better being behind. We saw guys like Alex Rios, Alejandro De Aza, and Paul Konerko get some pretty big hits today. Jeff Keppinger hit some balls hard today as well, but situationally, he and others in the Sox lineup (cough cough Dayan Viciedo, I’ll get to you later in this wrap) could not get it done. It was 2012 September-esque  in some ways, and that isn’t a good thing. Player Notes Thornton’s Woes I’d make the same decision to bring in Matt Thornton there because of the lefty-lefty situation, but man, this guy has GOT to start coming through. This is a guy who was sub-par last season and hasn’t gotten off to a good start this season. Let’s hope he figures it out fast and that he’s not just losing it. Whether you like it or not, he’s a huge part of this bullpen. De Aza’s Base Running Blunder It was good to see Alejandro De Aza start to do some things at the plate today. However, that was a pretty bad baserunning blunder in the fifth inning. Since high school baseball and even before that, you are taught to always pick up the ball on the crack of the bat on a hit and run. De Aza didn’t do that on Keppinger’s pop-up, and it cost us. With Rios up next and swinging the bat the way he is right now, he could have very easily singled in De Aza and kept the inning going. Viciedo’s Feet This is just strictly an observation that I believe Hawk and Stoney mentioned once during the broadcast. Dayan Viciedo needs to step toward the pitcher. There’s been a ton of instances this season already where he’s “stepped in the bucket,” causing him to pull his head out and giving him no plate control middle-out. The one time he did step towards the pitcher today, he singled up the middle. It’s not a difficult concept to grasp, and I’m sure Jeff Manto is going to start working with Tank on this after they see the tape. Outfield Defense This is something that’s struggled the first six games that looked pretty strong tonight. The outfielders were able to gun down both Bryce Harper and Gio Gonzalez trying to take extra bases (although that was pretty questionable decision making on both of their parts), and De Aza made some real tough catches out there tonight. It was definitely a positive step forward for this group in that department. Beckham Leaves Gordon Beckham left early in this ball game after just one at-bat. It was officially listed due to 'nerve soreness in his wrist,' after he hit it on catcher Wilson Ramos' mask on the follow-through of his swing. We'll monitor the situation, but as of now, it sounds like Gordon will be missing at least a couple ball games, with Conor Gillaspie filling in at 3rd base and Jeff Keppinger likely moving over to 2nd base. And finally, your box score via WhiteSox.com ...  
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