Games » Detroit TigersAug23
Mention a no-hitter and it’s soon over. Say the Royals don’t get blown out much and Detroit lays 12 runs on them. (Bear down, guys, you’re making me look bad.) The prevailing theory is that three extra-inning games in less than 24 hours over the weekend finally took their toll. (Although Ned Yost pointed out Bruce Chen didn’t pitch at all during that span and Jesse Chavez didn’t pitch much, so exhaustion as an excuse just wasn’t cutting it.)
But what about the position players? If they were tired that might explain some of the other not-so-hot performances:
Gregor Blanco lost points for not knowing how many outs there were after catching a fly ball in the outfield. He did a stylish little cruise after making the catch and meanwhile, runners were advancing. That’s the second time that’s happened since he came here.
Mitch Maier made two errors: one an artillery lob that just missed getting the runner at home if you consider hitting the backstop just missing. That allowed a runner to advance. The second one wasn’t so bad: he was trying to ‘round’ a ball (run a route that’s slightly deeper than needed in order to be headed back towards the infield while fielding it, which makes for a stronger throw). The rounding motion gave an odd angle to his glove and he couldn’t field the ball cleanly.
Still, the biggest problem was walks: three were intentional, but that still leaves seven unintentional free passes. Five walks scored. I talked a lot about this early in the season and, to the Royals credit, the problem became less noticeable…until last night. You can’t give the other team 10 free base runners, especially when they give you none.
Bruce Chen said next time he would attack the zone, but this isn’t Bruce’s first rodeo. How long do you have to pitch before it sinks in that throwing strikes might be a good idea?
Betemit at third…
Detroit started the game with seven right-handed hitters in the lineup. When you have a pitcher without much velocity on the mound (and Bruce Chen qualifies) your corner infielders will get tested.
Hitters are out in front and pull the ball down the lines. The Royals need Wilson Betemit in the lineup for his bat, but are about three DHs over the limit. Sticking him at third is a gamble and one that they might’ve lost in this game.
Betemit had rockets going by on either side, all night. Yost also said Detroit has a fast infield. And to be fair, I wouldn’t play third unless I got to wear catching gear and stand close enough to the left fielder to shake hands. Maybe these laser beams were uncatchable, I’m not good enough to say.
But I do know diving is allowed and I didn’t see a whole lot of that. If the only balls that are going to get caught are the ones right at him, that’s a problem.
P.S. He did make a nice play on a ball he had to charge.
P.P.S. My computer says there is no such word as ‘uncatchable’. I believe my computer needs to play more baseball.
It won’t show in the box score, but Mitch Maier got a single when he hit a come-backer to the mound and Jeremy Bonderman took too much time getting the ball over to first (that style thing again). Mitch hustled and just beat it out. It’s a nothing play in terms of the outcome, but it’s big in terms of effort.
You run out every stinking dribbler, broken-bat bleeder and routine six-hopper because someday this might happen. The rest of the night sucked, but I thought this was worth mentioning. Good for Mitch.
Point of interest…
If a pitcher walks a batter and the pitching coach visits the mound, some people advise looking for a fastball strike on the next pitch. The idea is that the coach probably fired a rocket up the guy’s wazoo (not the word I wanted to use) and told the pitcher to quit screwing around and be aggressive.
Which leads to the ‘look for a fastball strike’ train of thought.
Bob McClure came out to the mound after Bruce Chen walked Brandon Inge in the 4th. The next batter was Caspar Wells (I’ve got a catcher’s mitt older than this guy). Caspar swung for the fences on Chen’s first offering and missed by about three feet. I don’t know if they were thinking along the same lines, but Bruce (the crafty veteran…who can’t seem to remember to throw strikes) dropped a 75-mph changeup on him.
It’s not much, but in a game like this you need to find something positive.