Games » Detroit TigersAug24
Well, the Royals certainly made this grid easy to fill out: three hits, one RBI and one run. Over the weekend, playing against the White Sox, the Royals put up 71 points in our system in the first game, then 41, then 61. In Monday’s game against the Tigers the Royals put up a total of 21 points. Guess which two games they won, which game they lost narrowly and which game was a blow out.
When the season’s over, we’ll figure out average points for a win and average points for a loss. It might also be interesting to see the minimum points in a win and maximum in a loss.
We’ll figure out the total points scored in this game as soon as we find a microscope.
In the previous game we talked about Bruce Chen’s off-speed stuff and how that put pressure on Wilson Betemit at third. In this game Kyle Davies was trying to run a cutter in on the lefties and that put pressure on Billy Butler. The result was four doubles down the right field line. I don’t know if Billy should’ve been able to knock any of them down, but I would’ve liked to see someone who’s got better mobility than the Liberty Memorial try.
Walks that don’t score…
Even if a walk doesn’t eventually cross the plate, they hurt. Davies threw 108 pitches in 4 2/3 innings. That kind of pitch count will let the other team get to middle relief, every team’s goal…goal? Heck, they have daytime fantasies about it. There’s a reason every pitching coach since the dawn of time has advised throwing strikes. When David faced Goliath, there was probably some grizzled vet with a pot gut and a chaw telling David to be aggressive.
Generally speaking, a good idea.
Gregor Blanco managed to lose points on a called third strike and a mental mistake at the same time. Gregor called time with a 3-2 count, but didn’t wait for the umpire to grant it before backing out of the box. The batter requests time, the umpire has to OK it. The pitcher, Rick Porcello, had started his motion, the umpire didn’t grant time and Blanco was called out on fastball right down Main Street.
This is way too small a sample to draw conclusions about Blanco, but this is Gregor’s fourth mental mistake in 19 games. By contrast, Jason Kendall has three in 115 games (and I was probably wrong about at least one of them). That’s 115 games in which Jason handles the ball over 100 times and has four or five plate appearances. (Feel free to draw conclusions about Jason.)
And while we’re on the subject of Jason Kendall, Royals pitchers were bouncing balls all night. His four plays were all blocked pitches. On the advice of Russ Morman, I’ve been giving catchers points any time they block a pitch with a runner on third: that’s saving a run. Other blocks need to be difficult to get points: look for long hops out in front of the plate, the short ones are easier. (Short hops might hit the catcher anyway.) Also, lateral movement: that tells you the catcher had to go a ways to get in front. One more factor: when they block it with something other than the equipment. Last night, Jason had a pitch that was so wild he threw an elbow out to stop it. (Maybe those aren’t tattoos on his arms…maybe they’re bruises.) Using bare skin to stop 95-mph fastballs takes some guts and makes you a popular guy in the dugout.
If I want to be popular in the dugout, I’d rather buy everyone a beer afterwards.
Kila krushes one…
Kila Ka’aihue launched a no-doubter in the 9th. That’s what everyone has been waiting for. You can see the power that has the Royals hoping he can supply regular pop. You can also see balls he gets up, but not out. Three more fly outs in this game. The difference is a fraction of an inch on the ball: not easy to control.
Yuniesky Betancourt turned a double play that would make anyone’s highlight reel. Chris Getz went far behind second to start the play and the angle of the feed turned Yuni’s back to first. Betancourt then invented a new play (reminded me of my old freestyle skiing days…’elevate, then decide’). Yuni jumped in the air, did a 360 degree spin and threw a strike to first before touchdown. People are going to be watching this one for awhile.
Which brings me to a realization I had last Saturday night: Yuni had just hit a grand slam to tie the game against the White Sox and then a single to win it in extra innings.
He was leading the team in home runs, second in RBIs and was only one of two players to have three grand slams this year (the other being A-Rod). It occurred to me that if everyone was now going to have to admit that Yuniesky Betancourt was having a pretty decent year, Ron Polk’s system pointed it out first.
When I started this project, I held the same opinion as a lot of people: Yuniesky Betancourt was not a very good shortstop. I was shocked when he kept climbing higher in the point totals. That climb was accelerated when several players ahead of him were traded away. I was the one feeding the numbers in, but didn’t want to believe the totals.
Finally, I decided I needed to take another look at how he was doing it, because clearly, he wasn’t as bad as I had thought. I wrote that for the first time on July 24th and it had been clear for a couple weeks before that.
I don’t deserve any credit for recognizing early on what Betancourt was doing: Ron Polk’s system did that. A lot of people have taken shots at this system because it was telling them things they didn’t want to believe.
Like Frank White said: if you make up your mind about a player and refuse to reconsider, you’re going to miss any improvement he makes.
Yuniesky Betancourt deserves credit and so does Ron Polk.