Games » Cleveland IndiansAug28
On second thought, this game was lost when Zack Greinke walked the Indians’ No. 9 hitter, Lou Marson (hitting .188), and that walk came around to score in the second inning.
Oh, wait, now that I think about it, this game was lost when Greinke walked Shin-Soo Choo with the bases loaded, also in the second inning.
Or maybe this game was lost when Yuniesky Betancourt’s struck out with Alex Gordon in scoring position in the second, when Chris Getz couldn’t hit a fly ball deep enough to score Mitch Maier from third in the fifth inning, when Jai Miller hit into a fielder’s choice in the eighth, when Billy Butler flew out to center field in the ninth or when Willie Bloomquist struck out looking in the 10th.
The point of this exercise? Just because the last, and most memorable, thing that happened was Jesse Chavez giving up a walk-off dinger, it wasn’t the ONLY thing that happened.
Win or lose a one-run game and you’ll find turning points all the way through. Remember: no single player ever loses a game and no single player ever wins one.
Although Wilson Betemit gave it a damn good shot.
Backing up, the good and bad kind
Keith Hernandez (he used to do more than appear in bad commercials for hair dye, kids) once said that any time he was backing up on a ground ball, he thought he was in trouble.
Moving forward, even a tiny bit, brings your body into good fielding position. Your weight’s over the balls of your feet, your chest and head move forward over the ball and that leaves your hands in good position.
Which brings us to Willie Bloomquist: he found himself backing up and playing a ball off to the side in the third inning (sometimes you don’t have a choice) and clanked it. Backing up puts you on your heels, leaves all your body parts in a bad position and playing it off to the side means if you miss it the ball doesn’t bounce off your chest and settle in front of you. Miss it off to the side and it’s gone.
A couple days ago, Willie was the home-run hero. In this game he made two errors, got caught stealing and struck out looking in extra innings with the winning run in scoring position. There’s a reason they tell you to never get too high or too low in baseball. The game tends to even stuff out.
On the other hand: Chris Getz made an outstanding play when he backed up first on another Bloomquist error — a wild throw from third base. The runner, Jayson Nix, saw the ball get away, took a left turn to head for second and then probably had the same feeling as Tiger Woods when he realized he didn’t have his cell phone. Uh-oh.
Chris’s heads-up play turned a mistake into an out and likely saved a run.
More good defense
Jai Miller made a great physical play following a messed-up mental one (and it often happens that way). Being unfamiliar with each other, he and Chris Getz got tangled on a flare that was falling between them and Jai reached around Chris to make the catch off to the side.
The jury’s still out, but they’re getting there
This is from the previous game, but I never got to it: with a runner coming around to score, Gregor Blanco had to make a throw home. Gregor had everything going his way: the ball was in shallow center, Gregor was moving forward, he was lined up to do a “crowhop” (a little skip off the back foot that allows the fielder to get more on the ball) and a “captain’s wheel’ (raising the glove side high so the resulting motion looks like a sailor spinning a giant ships wheel, which also puts more on the throw).
Like I said, Blanco had everything going his way. This was a throw that a good arm makes on the fly and a bad arm one hops. Gregor three-hopped it.
I like this guy’s game: he’s got that explosive start that seems to let some guys get up to full-speed in two or three steps (I’ve never been up to full speed, but I hear rumors), he runs good routes on fly balls (just needs to remember how many outs there are), he steals bases, he bunts, hits and has some pop (hitting a homer 400+ feet isn’t an accident).
In other words: he’s got a lot of baseball tools. Right now, a good arm doesn’t appear to be one of them.