Games » Oakland AthleticsAug4
“Control what you can, let the rest go.” That’s Joe Torre giving sound advice on baseball and life. In life, it means quit trying to control others and do something about your online porn addiction or your tendency to overeat (and I’ve got a half-gallon of Rocky Road in my freezer that won’t survive the weekend).
But what’s it mean in baseball?
Quit worrying about the other team and focus on what you control. You control throwing strikes, you control errors, you control the pitches you choose to swing at, and you control your baserunning. Lose focus, spend a lot of time worrying about things beyond your power and you control nothing.
(OK, Deepak, could we get back to the Royals?)
Why, yes. Of the four Oakland runs, one got on by walk (something the Royals should be able to control, but didn’t) and one got on by error (another thing the Royals should be able to control, but didn’t).
The Royals lead the league in errors. The majority of errors are caused by rushing (OK, I actually have no clue if it’s a majority, but it’s a whole bunch). Worrying too much about what the baserunner is doing and not enough about throwing mechanics. Worrying about getting two outs before you get one. Trying to control the future without controlling the present.
Until the Royals control what they can, their fate is out of control.
Yuniesky picked up outstanding defensive play points for handling a ball in the sun, a play throwing on the run and stabbing a line drive off the bat of Kevin Kouzmanoff in the fourth. (Wow, I wrote about losing focus and I wasn’t talking about Betancourt…what are the odds?)
In the first inning with nobody out, Mike Aviles went back to second to tag up on Billy Butler’s line drive to center. This is right out of the textbook. With no outs, a runner on second tags up on a questionable catch in the outfield. If the ball drops, the runner gets to third and you’ve got runners on the corners with nobody down. If it’s caught, you should have a runner on third with one down.
With one out, the runner goes halfway (halfway is actually inaccurate…the runner takes as much lead as the fly ball allows…deep, a lot of lead, shallow, not so much).
With two outs, the runner takes off like a bat out of heck (hey, c’mon, kids might be reading this).
Because Mike made the right decision on Butler’s fly ball, he was at third when Jose Guillen hit a grounder. Aviles then made it home with a nice slide, avoiding the tag.
No points deducted…
The box score says Mitch Maier was picked off, but Mitch was going on “first movement.” When a base-stealer has trouble reading a lefty’s move, he often breaks on the first movement after the set position. This is a calculated gamble, not falling asleep on the bases, so no minus points for getting picked off.
In the previous game, Gregor Blanco got points for a game-winning hit but didn’t actually get a hit. When I asked Ron Polk how he wanted this category scored, he said it was for the hit in the last offensive half-inning that put your team ahead.
Blanco drove in the run while making an out, but I thought it fit the definition of what Ron Polk wanted to reward: clutch hitting. If you look at Ron’s system closely, you’ll see Coach Polk has slightly weighted the system to reward performance under pressure. A couple of sabermetric guys criticized the system because it wasn’t mathematically logical: why was a save worth as many points as a win?
If you’ve ever played the game, you know those last three outs are the hardest outs of the ballgame. Anyone who can perform under pressure in that situation is worth his weight in gold, and the system rewards that. Same with clutch hitting: Blanco did what he needed to do to drive in the winning run, and that ought to be rewarded.