Games » Texas RangersSep1
The big news from this game was Jason Kendall being out for the rest of the season. In a move that would make a masochist wince, Jason tore his rotator cuff six weeks ago and continued to play.
His throwing arm was so bad he couldn’t lift it above his shoulder. In order to make throws (and he was still throwing out runners), he was lifting his bad arm with his glove, getting his damaged arm into throwing position and then cutting loose.
Let me say that one more time…
HIS ARM HURT SO MUCH HE HAD TO LIFT IT WITH HIS OTHER ARM IN ORDER TO THROW!
Look, if I feel sinus pressure, I call in sick. I can’t imagine the pain he was putting himself through in order to play. Once, in describing another injury, Jason told me, “Pain is whatever you decide it is.”
I told Jason I had decided pain hurt and it hurt every damn time. I guess there’s a reason I won’t be catching 2,000 games in the major leagues soon. (That, lack of talent and the inability to stand up without help after getting into a catcher’s squat.)
One of the things I’ve heard over and over from ballplayers and coaches is that the game is not just a bunch of numbers. You can’t take the human element out of baseball, and any attempt to do so is a mistake. Showing up early, working hard, playing through pain…whether it shows up statistically or not, this stuff matters.
Ned on pitchers…
The ability to put the ball where you want it depends on a repeatable motion. Think of it like a pitching machine: If you only have one possible adjustment, it won’t take long to zero in. If everything else stays the same, you can concentrate on adjusting the release point.
If you’ve got six possible adjustments, each one affecting the other, now you’ve got problems, and it will take much longer to zero in.
Stuff to watch for…
Kila Ka’aihue got caught stealing, but it was Yuniesky Betancourt’s fault (hence the mental mistake). Yuni missed a hit and run sign. You can tell when this happens by watching the runner: He’ll be looking toward home to see the ball put in play.
Some base stealers take a quick glance, but Kila stared longer than a tourist at the Grand Canyon. When you see that, SOMEONE missed a sign, and in this case (Bob Dutton, the Royals’ beat writer checked), it was Yuni.
Of course, Betancourt hitting another bomb right after missing the sign probably went a ways to make up for it.
Another thing you can look for is Kila’s front foot. Hitters close their front foot (which means it remains roughly parallel with the front of home plate) and rotate on their back one (a pivot on the ball of the foot that turns the hips and supplies power).
Kila rotates his front foot. That means his front side (hips and shoulders) can open too soon. THAT means he’ll have a hard time hitting a pitch away. (Try it: get in a batting stance, rotate your front side open and take a swing at an imaginary pitch on the outside part of the plate. It’s like trying to punch someone standing around a corner.)
It doesn’t mean it can’t be done, it just means you’ve got to have a lot of talent to do it. Watch where they pitch him: I’m just starting to pay attention to this, but I’m guessing anything hittable inside might be a mistake.
Or, I’m entirely wrong. Either way, it should be entertaining to watch.
I’m running out of room, but as soon as you talk about a hitting flaw, someone wants to know, “Why don’t they fix that?” There’s a reason, and I’ll shortly explain why…kind of.