Games » Texas RangersAug30
Kyle Davies pitched well, but C.J. Wilson pitched better. The Royals can hit, sometimes they can’t score runs, but they can hit. So the whopping total of three singles in this game is probably an indication of good pitching, not poor hitting.
Ned Yost got all the lefties out of the lineup that would face Wilson, with the exception of Gregor Blanco, and it still didn’t help.
Too bad. Kyle threw more strikes than the United Auto Workers, only walked one and made it through eight and a third innings while only giving up two earned runs.
You always hate to waste a good pitching performance.
They had a chance…
It’s rare that a pitcher is so dominant that you never have a chance and sure enough, the Royals had one in the second inning. Bases loaded, Jai Miller at the plate. (By the way, this guy should not be allowed to walk around the locker room without a shirt on. It’s depressing to middle-aged cartoonists. I’ve seen pieces of beef jerky with more fat. He walked by and my first thought was, “Man, I need to join a gym.”)
OK, where was I? Right, bases loaded, Miller at the plate, two outs and the count goes to 3-2. This poses an interesting dilemma for the runner on third. Bases loaded, two outs, full count…everybody runs, right?
Well, if you’re on third, how hard are you going to run toward home plate? The hitter may have to swing at an inside pitch. How close do you want to be when that ball gets ripped foul? If a ballplayer wants cosmetic surgery, I’m pretty sure he’d rather not have it done by a teammate with a Louisville Slugger and a Rawlings baseball.
A runner on third takes his lead in foul territory, that way if he does get hit by a ball, at least he’s not out. He may dead, but not out. (Interesting point…OK, interesting point if your life’s boring enough…and mine is…the runner takes his lead in foul territory, but returns to third on the baseline. That way the catcher can’t see third and will have to throw around the runner on a pickoff attempt.) Anyway, none of this happened because Miller struck out looking.
The two-strike approach…
A lot of hitters are accused of making no adjustment when they get to two strikes. Ron Polk’s system punishes hitters who don’t adjust. So just what are the adjustments?
In the old days, dinosaurs roamed the Earth and hitters with two strikes choked up for bat control. Another adjustment is looking for a pitch up and away. The reason? You can start your swing high and adjust down, but not back up. You can start your swing away and adjust in, but you can’t start your swing in and adjust away.
If you don’t believe me, grab that cardboard mailer by your desk and take a few healthy cuts in your cubicle. You’ll see what I mean. (Now tell the person in the next cubicle not to call security.)
But the biggest adjustment is attitude: A hitter now has to hit the entire zone and a little more. Hitters will tell you how lousy an umpire is and then rely on the same umpire’s judgment in a crucial situation. Bad idea. With two strikes, a hitter needs to assume he’s swinging and then stop if it’s not close. Falling into a “maybe-yes-maybe-no” mode is a good way to get called out looking.
I don’t know for sure what happened with Jai, and it looked like C.J. Wilson had pretty good movement on his pitches. He also got Blanco and Billy Butler looking, so Jai wasn’t the only one having a problem…but if I could run like Miller, I’d try to put anything close in play and take my chances.
P.S. I can’t run like Miller and I can’t even hit like Bruce Chen (look it up, he’s batting 1.000), so my chances wouldn’t be that hot.