Since the first day of spring training, White Sox manager Robin Ventura has stressed the importance of defense. He hasn’t just talked about it; he has evangelized it in a way only a recent convert or a six-time Gold Glove winner can.
Ventura’s flock seems to be experiencing hearing loss. In 18 games, the Sox already have committed 12 errors, tied for the fifth-most in baseball. They lost 2-1 on Saturday to the Twins when shortstop Alexei Ramirez’s throwing error allowed the winning run to score in the 10th inning.
You expect that sort of thing from the comical Cubs, who committed three errors and allowed four unearned runs Saturday against the Brewers. You don’t expect it from the Sox, who set a franchise record for fewest errors in a season (70) in 2012. The Sox also led baseball with a fielding percentage of .988 and allowed the fewest number of unearned runs (30) last season. They already have allowed seven unearned runs this season.
The sample size is very small, but it doesn’t make what’s happening any less disconcerting, especially for a team that isn’t hitting.
...In football, general managers and coaches talk about special teams being just as important as offense and defense. They even might think they mean it. But if special teams is so important, kickers, punters and long snappers would be making a lot more money.
Fielding in baseball is a little like that. Everybody talks it up, but people can’t take their eyes off offensive stats when the season starts. Catching the ball is undervalued. The stats guys don’t seem to know what to do with defense.
Posted: April 22, 2013 at 04:41 AM | 9 comment(s)
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