As September games become more important, rookie manager Robin Ventura has seen his decisions dissected more often.
“There have been a lot of (moves) -- some worked out, some didn’t,” Ventura said. “I don’t know how this (playoff push) is going to work out. I hope we win. Nobody knows for sure.”
Before Thursday's game, with the Sox's lead over the Tigers in the AL Central just one game, Ventura was questioned about two pivotal moves in the series. On Tuesday, he had Kevin Youkilis bunt with men on first and second with nobody out. On Wednesday, Ventura chose left-hander Leyson Septimo to match up with Prince Fielder, who hit a three-run homer. In both instances, his strategy impacted the outcome.
“That is just part of the game,” Ventura said. “Everything changes by the score -- every reaction. A pitch that a guy throws is a lot different in a 3-2 game than a pitch he throws in a 9-1 game. “Things become different by what the score is, and the pressures. I don’t look at it as (tactical moves) we did, because part of the job is to get criticized.”
Ventura and his young capable coaching staff have certainly been put under the microscope by fans and the media. That concentration has been enhanced much more with 20 games left in a close pennant race.
“It becomes different,” Ventura said. “You are still playing the game and protecting guys . You probably don’t skip (bullpen) guys for three or four days, or even starters skipping turns like having them take two weeks off. You are not going to do that.”
Critics are of little concern to the confident White Sox skipper, who is certainly in the conversation for American League Manager of the Year.
“Our guys are playing hard, the effort is there,” he said. “That is what you are concerned with the most.”