I share David's relief at the second time through the rotation being over.
Brazelton: Command disappeared again
Kazmir: Poor command and still no strikeout stuff
Hendrickson: Law of averages came back to bite him on all the balls in play
Bell: Poor command, mediocre stuff
The bright spot was the dominating performance by Fossum against a strong lineup in a good hitter's park. He has been great so far and stands to benefit from the struggles by the starters. My guess is that Nomo will go first though I still doubt that Brazelton will make it through June.
Seeing Alex Sanchez batting third last night gives us the same fear that Yankee fans feel with Tony Womack leading off. You don't want the team to do badly but there's the scary thought that a good game by Sanchez and a good performance from the offense overall will give him many more chances in that third spot in the lineup.
He did have a good game and so did the offense. Now there's the problem that Lou may not understand (or choose to understand) that correlation does not equal causation and think that having Sanchez batting third made a positive difference. I'd like to see exactly what effect he did have in each of his plate appearances.
#1: 1st inning, men on first and second, no outs
Ponson had thrown one strike in the first nine pitches so what does Sanchez do? Tries to bunt! When a guy is struggling like that you should never attempt to put the ball in play early, make him prove he can actually put together a good sequence before helping him out. Sanchez grounded into a force out, getting on base but at the cost of Lugo at 2nd. The only hint of productivity was moving Crawford to third.
Three runs would score in that inning. Sanchez's contribution? Minimal.
#2: 3rd inning, nobody on, one out
Sanchez hacks at the first pitch (against a guy with poor control so far in the game!) and singles on a ground ball up the middle. Huff walked on four pitches and Phelps singled Sanchez in.
Two runs scored in that inning, Sanchez did contribute by getting on base. However, it was just a single and he didn't show the slightest bit of patience.
#3: 4th inning, man on first, no outs
Sanchez took two pitches then "doubled" on the fourth pitch. I saw "doubled" because it was really a misplayed single. Sanchez advanced Lugo to 3rd and both would come around to score.
Seven runs scored, Sanchez did not hasten the end of the rally with an out and had partial responsibility in two runs scoring.
#4: 5th inning, nobody on, two outs
Sanchez took the first and third pitches but struck out swinging on the fourth.
No runs were scored but Sanchez wasn't in much of a run creating position anyway when he came up.
#5: 8th inning, man on second, no outs
Sanchez took a pitch then popped out. Hard to blame him though, Parrish was nasty to the Rays hitters, particularly the lefties.
No runs scored, nobody after Sanchez did anything either.
So there you have it. Five plate appearances and Sanchez only had a real contribution to run scoring in two of them in a game that everyone was killing the opposing pitchers. He did alright but even his 2-5, three runs scored performance wasn't all it could be made out to be. It certainly wasn't a key to the Rays victory and there's no reason to think even from this game alone that having Sanchez batting third will be a positive thing for the team's run scoring chances in the future.