Games » Minnesota TwinsJul27
What struck me about this game (besides the 972 hits the Twins racked up) was the ease with which the Royals’ opponent moved around the bases. All night long, someone was going first to third, second to home or scoring from first on a double.
In contrast, Billy Butler couldn’t score from first on a Jose Guillen double in the third, even though there were two outs (the runner gets a better jump with two outs because he doesn’t have to worry about the ball being caught). To be fair, the ball didn’t get to the gap, but the outfielder did fall down on the play.
All that Twins speed (I have no idea whether the Twins are REALLY fast or just look that way to someone with bad knees…on the other hand, my bad knees don’t seem to be speeding up Butler or Guillen). OK, where was I?…Oh, yeah, the Twins’ speed comes in handy on defense, too.
The Twins’ pitchers don’t walk people, the defense doesn’t make errors, the hitters seem to take a very sound opposite-field approach to the plate and then run the bases aggressively. Not a bad formula for any team trying to become a winner.
Speaking of Butler…
Positive points for handling a tough hop, but Butler had two questionable plays that don’t show as errors: He handled another short hop glove palm up (you want to play them backhand if you can), and as some cartoonist-turned-baseball writer predicted, the ball popped up out of his mitt. Billy also cut in front of Chris Getz and knocked a ball sideways. It was ruled a hit, but if Getz was calling for the ball, Billy needs to let him take it. It’s an easier play for the second baseman moving toward the bag than the first baseman moving away.
It appears the Royals have lost Meche for the season. People continue to speculate (and it looks like I’m one of them) about the outing in which Gil threw eleventy billion pitches and its affect on his arm. Actually, I’ve got no clue, and I imagine neither does Gil.
A Sports Illustrated article that said a pitcher could be healthy at 115 pitches and need surgery at 120 (the damage can come at the end when the arm’s tired) convinced me it’s better to pull a pitcher too soon than too late. If you’re going to be wrong, be wrong the right way.
Mike Aviles says he’s not in a slump, he’s just not getting hits (there is a difference). That’s the reason Kevin Seitzer keeps stats like “hard-hit outs.” (Mike’s had a bunch since the All-Star break).
If a guy’s not getting hits, but continues to hit the ball hard, no adjustment is necessary. In fact, getting in a panic and changing your swing just because some idiot with a web site asks if you’re scuffling is the worst thing you can do.
Sorry I brought it up, dude.
Gibby on playing from behind Monday night…
Once you’re down by 19 runs, your goal is to keep from getting hurt, have a few cold ones afterward and try to forget what happened. Down by eight, which the Royals were until the bullpen showed up with a can of ethanol and a Bic lighter, you still have a chance…slim, but a chance.
Before the Royals were totally out of it, they had three offensive innings in which they saw fewer than 10 pitches. I asked bench coach John Gibbons if the hitters should’ve shown more patience, but he didn’t think so.
Once Francisco Liriano had a big lead, he was going to pound the zone because it’s damn hard to hit an eight-run home run (although I think Guillen has tried on occasion). Gibby felt that a hitter’s best chance was early in the count. Fall behind to a pitcher with a quality slider and you’re in for a tough at-bat. Liriano wasn’t likely to walk anyone (and he didn’t), so he probably won’t put you back in the game with wildness.
And to be fair, going after hittable pitches early, the Royals had more than a few hard-hit outs. I didn’t count them, so I’m not sure exactly how many…where’s Seitzer when you need him?