Games » Cleveland IndiansAug19
This would’ve been a great game if they’d been playing slow-pitch softball. They could have stopped after seven innings. Unfortunately, the Royals had to play nine, and everything went kablooey in the eighth.
If you’re going to lose, lose early. Losing late sucks.
Kyle Davies walked off the mound with great drama after striking out Lou Marson in the third inning…Too bad it was only the second out of the inning. As Frank White says, in a big-league ballpark, there are a lot of opportunities to find out how many outs there are.
Wilson Betemit also got dinged for making the first out at third base in the second inning. It was close, but you have to be sure you can make it before hanging a left turn at second.
It’s not really a mental mistake, but Alex Gordon got thrown out stealing third on the next play. One out is the right time to try it (if you can get there before you have two outs, you can score without a hit), but Alex tried it with left-handed Mitch Maier at the plate. That provides a clear shot for the catcher.
Gregor Blanco’s diving catch in center field (the guy next to me asked if I thought Gregor really had to dive, and I said that as long as he makes that catch, I don’t care if he turns a cartwheel, followed by a set of squat thrusts afterward). Gordon caught a foul pop right up against the fence, which is really distracting, especially when you have people hanging out over you. Wilson Betemit made a nice play with half a bat helicoptering at him. If it’s me, that play not only doesn’t get made, it doesn’t get attempted. You could’ve killed Dracula with the piece of lumber headed Betemit’s way…much less a cartoonist. Heck, you can kill most cartoonists with a toothpick and a running start.
Gordon also threw a runner out at home, and Jason Kendall took a hit when he blocked the plate, but held onto the ball. Normally, a catcher puts his left foot directly on the line, toe pointed at third base. This ensures that a runner crashing into him won’t roll the catcher’s ankle. The runner will hit the shin guard and knock the leg straight back.
I asked Kendall about making the play at the plate, and he said he usually dekes (pretends there’s no play about to happen, just in case the runner buys the fake and slows up a bit), keeps his mask on for protection (some catchers will throw it in the baseline just to give the runner something else to deal with), and puts his left foot on the line.
This gives the runner a lane to the back half of the plate. The catcher receives the ball out in front and then collapses back into the runner’s lane, blocking him off the plate. That’s what normally happens, but Jason said when it’s really important, he’ll straddle the line and take the whole plate away. When that happens, the catcher knows he’s asking for a collision. That’s what happened here: It was the first inning, no score, and Jason decided it was worth the knock to keep the run off the board. No wonder his teammates dig him.
A little more on Jason…
Kendall recently stole his 10th base, becoming the first catcher to steal at least 10 bases in 10 different seasons. (Actually, I’ve got no clue if that’s true, but John Wathan told me it was, and I’m scared of John. Not because he’s bigger or stronger, but because he was a catcher. Rule of thumb: Don’t mess with guys who shrug off getting zapped with 95-mph fastballs. There’s not much you can do that would bother them. So if John thinks this should be mentioned, I’ll mention it.)
It is kind of remarkable, though: Considering all those years behind the plate and the ankle injury Kendall suffered, it’s amazing he can run at all. My most strenuous activity is lifting a really heavy pencil, and I still blew out a knee.
Apparently, Jason has been stealing bases by using the walking lead: The pitcher looks over, Jason is close to first and just starting to take his lead. Kendall begins walking off the base, and if the pitcher doesn’t make him stop, he’s gone.
Mike Aviles walked by, and I asked how he was doing. He said he was sick, he had some sort of virus and felt weak, no energy, no bounce to his step, etc., etc., etc. I said, “Dude, welcome to my world, when you’re 57, you feel like that EVERY day.”
Now I had him laughing, and he said no way he was going to ever deal with that. I asked him to think about the alternative. Old, dead: Take your choice.
Then I asked if he was OK with me sharing this exchange, and he said, “Why would I mind?”
“Y’ know, some managers don’t want the other team knowing you’re not going to play. He might want them thinking you’re the secret weapon coming off the bench to wreak havoc in the ninth inning.”
“You’re right…BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT I DO!”
Just in case you’re wondering, he didn’t get in the game, left the park carrying a Styrofoam container of food and almost ran over me in the parking lot…BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT HE DOES!