Thursday, June 15, 2006

There's No Crying In Baseball

The Chicago White Sox lost 8-0 last night thanks to an awesome pitching performance by the Texas Rangers' Vicente Padilla. Padilla gave up 3 hits and 3 walks over 8 innings, striking out 7. Most remarkably, his first 50 pitches were fastballs.

However, for some reason, he plunked White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski twice. Pierzynski, who is 4 and 8 lifetime against Padilla, had no explanation for these actions.

But what is remarkable about the game is the series of events surrounding Sox pitcher Sean Tracey. Tracey, a righty, came in to the game at the start of the 7th inning, with the Sox already behind 6-0. His first pitch against lefty Hank Blalock was low and inside, and four pitches later Blalock grounded out to second.

Sox manager Ozzie Guillen immediately came out to the mound and replaced Tracey with Agustin Montero, another right-hander, to face righty Mark DeRosa. Then, in the dugout, Guillen was seen chewing Tracey out, and a distraught looking Tracey could be seen with his jersey pulled up over his face. After the game, Tracey's locker had been emptied and a White Sox source told a reporter that he had been reassigned to the minors.

After the game, Guillen offered weak explanations for removing Tracey after just one batter -- that Tracey was a prospect that he didn't want to use in mop-up situations and that Montero needed some extra time to warm up. It seems clear, however, that Tracey, who had only appeared in two games before last night, was sent in for the sole purpose dropping Blalock. That he didn't do what he was told is the only probable explanation for Guillen's rage and Tracey's demotion. What's ironic is that on Sunday against the Cleveland Indians, Tracey dropped Travis Hafner and subsequently got shouted at by Victor Martinez after throwing him a pitch inside.

It's a shame for Tracey that he couldn't or wouldn't do what he was asked. He might never live it down if he was told he needed to drop a hitter in defense of Pierzynski.

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