Games » Seattle MarinersAug6
Well, how was THAT for an off day? Jose Guillen designated for assignment and Zack Greinke questioning the team’s future. Both events tempt me to make comments out of the area of my expertise (and it’s pretty damn easy to get out of an area that small).
I’ve generally tried to avoid playing GM. I don’t know much about contracts or possible trades or what player in the minors should be playing in the majors. I think this website and system have been useful in analyzing the play of the Kansas City Royals, but don’t do much else. If you’ve followed it from the beginning, you’ve got a decent idea of the strengths and limitations of each ballplayer. (Of course, just about the time we figure out Scott Podsednik’s game, they trade him.)
But back to me talking through my hat: It’s hard to see the Guillen situation as anything but a mistake. Anytime you’re paying a player $4 million to not play, someone miscalculated. (Hell, I’d not play for half that.)
And as bad as the Guillen deal turned out, Zack’s situation seems more serious. The franchise player doesn’t have much faith in the gameplan. Hard to blame him: We’re in the 25th year of a seven-year plan.
People who should know have told me help is coming, but assuming it will take those players a few seasons to establish themselves at this level, being good in four years isn’t much comfort to a player with two years left on his contract.
I don’t see why we’re all supposed to get mad at Zack for doing the math and saying what seems obviously true. Ned Yost just said the team isn’t in a rebuilding program and expects to start winning now. Uh, OK…you can start anytime.
That’s it: I’m done looking at forests and will resume my study of trees.
Willie Bloomquist and Jason Kendall got docked points for base-running mistakes. Willie got doubled off when Jason attempted to bunt for a hit and popped up. In that situation the runner only breaks when the ball comes down off the bat and freezes on anything else. Bloomquist broke the wrong way. Jason’s mistake was making the last out of the inning between second and third. With two outs, a runner at second is already in scoring position and will likely score on any base hit. With two down, he can break right away.
Zack got “ambushed” (hitters swinging at the first-strike fastball that so many pitchers use to get ahead). If the ambush works, it forces the pitcher to go to his secondary pitches that have less chance of being a strike. The pitcher falls behind and the game spins out of control. If the ambush doesn’t work, it means a lot of one-pitch outs and now the offense has a gameplan that’s falling apart.
Alex Gordon made two nice plays: a sliding catch and a carom that he played off the scoreboard perfectly (you field the ball on your glove side so you can turn and throw in one motion and if you can field the ball above your shoulder, so much the better, it takes less time), but looked shaky on two other plays that didn’t result in errors.
Willie Bloomquist played a single perfectly and kept a run from scoring (not all outstanding plays result in outs), Kendall had a block with a runner on third, Dusty Hughes made a sliding catch of a pop fly and Kila Ka’aihue handled an in-between hop from Wilson Betemit and saved him an error. Betemit also made a nice play going back and to the line, then throwing for a force at second.
Chris Getz also handled a bounced throw from Betemit (are you sensing a pattern here?) and it’s a judgment call as to whether you give the player who handles a short hop points. If the hop is really short (hits the ground inches from the glove and bounces into it immediately) it’s not as difficult. If it’s long (several feet short, but come up and gives the fielder something to handle above the knees) it’s not as difficult. In between those two are the hops that are a nightmare: too far away to smother and too close to give much reaction time. Getz got a longer hop, Ka’aihue got an in-between one: thus (a word I use ALL the time) the difference in scoring.
By the way: a reader was upset that Yuniesky Betancourt got points for handling a pop fly in the sun and called the play “routine.” According to Mike Aviles (and having tried it, I have to agree with him) no ball in the sun is routine…but some are more routine than others. If you see the fielder shielding his eyes with his glove, he’s blocking the sun and waiting for the ball to appear above it. If you see the fielder turn to the side while doing this, the ball has failed to appear and is staying on line with the sun. The turn to the side is a last-ditch effort to get a different background behind the ball. Any fielder who makes one of these is going to get points out of me. This play is WAY difficult. Major league players can sometimes make them look routine to people in the stands, but they aren’t.
Now here’s one (as they said on Seinfeld): Gregor Blanco got points for making a long running catch and immediately gave those points back with a mental mistake. He made the catch and then (A) lost track of how many outs there were and thought the inning was over or (B) just had to lope along for a while enjoying the moment. Neither one’s acceptable: a mental mistake for letting a runner advance.
Parting thought: The more talent you have the more mistakes you can afford to make. You screw something up, you hit a three-run home run to make up for it. The less talent you have the less mistakes you can afford. You screw up, but there’s no three-run home run in your future.
Guess which category the Royals are in.