Games » Chicago White SoxAug22
After this game I heard that the Royals had played 46 one-run games…or maybe it was 64…or 146…probably should’ve written it down. Let me start over: After this game I heard the Royals had played a lot of one-run games. The point being (as I said yesterday): they’ve got a losing record, but they’re competitive. They don’t get blown out very often. It happens, but not often. Watch the Royals and most of the time you see a competitive game.
A point of pride…
This game was won in extra innings by a two-out rally. Ned Yost thinks that’s important and so do I (to be fair, Ned doesn’t care what I think…heck, Ned doesn’t know who I am). But it’s a sign of a team that continues to battle throughout a game or an inning. It’s important not to mail it in.
Mailing it in…
Wilson Betemit lost points when he stopped between first and second so he wouldn’t run into a tag by Gordon Beckham. The second baseman was trying to complete a double play and Wilson was trying to make it difficult. By stopping, Wilson forced the throw to first: so far so good. Then, after Beckham threw to first, Wilson should’ve gotten in a rundown.
The idea is to force as many throws as possible, in hopes of a bad one. The runner also wants to run into anyone without the ball (turn and charge into a defender right after they release the ball) because that’s interference…or obstruction…maybe it’s negligence…or slander. Anyway, the runner gets the base. I think it’s the base he’s headed towards. Where’s Steve Palermo when you need him?
Apparently, Wilson’s heart wasn’t in it. Neither were his legs. Or his feet. Betamit just turned and walked back to the dugout, getting tagged in the process. I don’t have a ‘lack of fighting spirit’ category, so I went with ‘mental mistake’. On the other hand, hitting a bomb into the visiting bullpen in the second did help the cause a little bit.
Speaking of scoring…
Jason Kendall had the game-winning hit: a walk-off, RBI single…at least according to today’s box score. Actually, it was a double that split the left-center gap, but according to the rules, the batter has to run the hit all the way out to get credit. Continuing to run the bases after the winning run is scored is frowned on and Jason is pretty old-school. So he won’t get credit for another double, but he hit one.
Alex Gordon made another sliding catch in the 9th to send the game to extra innings Zack Greinke bounced off the mound to make a tough throw on a bunt to get the lead runner and the aforementioned Wilson Betemit stabbed a high chopper headed for left and, aided by a stretch by Kila Ka’aihue, got the runner.
Omar Vizquel broke too early from first while Sean O’Sullivan held the ball in the stretch. Sean’s teammates alerted him to the easy out available, but Sean balked while stepping off the rubber. It was the 11th inning and Vizquel represented the winning run, now in scoring position with two outs.
I would’ve bet money Jason Kendall was going to visit the mound (he did) and tell Sean to clear his head, forget the runner and make a pitch to the only guy that mattered: the hitter at the plate.
After the game, I asked Sean if that was the conversation and he said that was it exactly. When something upsetting happens, especially to a young pitcher, you don’t want him making another pitch without getting refocused. Recognizing that and getting O’Sullivan back on track is part of how Jason earns his money: he’s another coach right out there on the field.
Gregor Blanco stole third right before Kendall hit his game-winner. The White Sox didn’t try to stop him, so it might seem unimportant, but a runner on third can change what the pitcher throws. Depending on the blocking skill of the catcher, a pitcher might have to ease up on some of his breaking pitches or avoid them altogether. That’s part of what makes Kendall so valuable behind the plate: our guys can continue to crank off their best stuff. Their guys might not be in the same position.