The White Sox entered the 9th inning with a 4-1 lead on Wednesday afternoon, but as has been the Sox story early in the season, the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead.
In this case, Manager Ozzie Guillen is to blame. Here’s why:
1.) Ozzie said Matt Thornton would no longer get all of the save opportunities. That’s fine. The guy has been struggling, and there are many other capable relievers on the team. But with a three-run lead, it was the perfect save opportunity for a guy who didn’t pitch in yesterday’s game. Instead, Guillen elected to go with rookie Chris Sale just 17 hours after he had thrown 34 pitches in last night’s extra innings duel. With Jesse Crain and Thornton both available and rested, this move was baffling. Sale gave up three hits without recording an out.
2.) With two runners on, a two-run lead, and none out, Ozzie had Thornton and Crain ready in the pen. Even though a lefty was coming to the plate, Guillen elected to go with the right-handed Crain. Crain loaded the bases and recorded one out.
3.) And finally, with the bases loaded and one out, Ozzie elected to bring in Thornton. When your once effective reliever is struggling, it’s important to give him your support while putting him in a position to succeed. Entering a game needing two outs when the bases are already loaded is not one of those situations. The lefty got a strikeout, followed by a two-run single to tie the game.
The bullpen is collectively losing confidence, and it’s all due to the fact that they’re being completely mishandled. Thornton is credited with his fourth blown save of the season, but it’s not his fault. It’s Ozzie’s.