Games » Oakland AthleticsSep13
The Royals made an error, gave up a walk, dropped a pitch as a runner stole second, made another error (made worse by an additional mental mistake), had a passed ball, another walk, a balk and another error…and it only took them the first two innings of the game to do it.
Let’s take a look: The first play of the game was a grounder that drove first baseman, Kila Ka’aihue, backwards. Every time a ball is hit to the pitcher’s left, he’s supposed to break to cover first…EVERY time. If the pitcher waits to see if he’ll be needed, he’ll be late.
Luke Hochevar didn’t wait, but didn’t appear to be going full speed either (probably assuming Kila would field the grounder and get to the bag). Once Luke realized he was needed, he sped up. Even though he beat Coco Crisp to first, he was behind schedule and had to field Kila’s throw (which was high) and tag the bag at the same time. Hochevar appeared to hit the front of the bag with his toe, but umpire Mike Muchlinski thought otherwise and didn’t take a vote.
Hochevar got the error, but Kila’s high throw helped.
Next, Coco decided to steal second. In his hurry to throw him out, Royals catcher Lucas May, dropped the ball. It didn’t make much difference, Hochevar walked the batter, Daric Barton.
The third batter of the inning, Kurt Suzuki, hit a double play ball to Josh Fields at third. Fields threw to Mike Aviles covering second and Aviles tried to throw around the runner, Barton, who was arriving at second with bad intentions.
(Time for a physics lesson: if you throw over the top, the release point affects the height of the ball’s flight. If you throw sidearm, the release point affects not only the height of the ball’s flight, but the direction of the ball’s flight. So the physics lesson is: throw over the top whenever possible.)
Mike’s slightly sidearm throw was wide left. First basemen have to make a lot of decisions and Kila made a bad one: he stayed on the base. The ball is always more important than the bag and Kila’s decision allowed Coco Crisp to come around third and score. Aviles got the error, but once again, Kila helped. Athletics 1, Royals 0.
Second inning: Hochevar walked Aki Iwamura, balked him into scoring position and with two outs centerfielder Jarrod Dyson got a horrible read on the ball, froze, then came in to make a catch that would’ve gone better if someone had thrown him a live salmon coated in Vaseline. (That’s fancy talk for ‘he didn’t catch it.’) Athletics 2, Royals 0.
Then we hit a home run, then they hit a home run: game over.
Some of these extended tryouts ain’t going so hot.
One tryout that IS going well…
Brayan Pena was named American League player of the week and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. (He may kick dogs at home, I don’t know, but around the ball field he couldn’t be more affable…look it up…I had to.) He’s hitting the snot out of the ball and has improved his throwing times. Looks like all that early work is paying off. At times he reaches instead of blocks and I don’t know squat about his game-calling, but any guy that remains that cheerful during hard times deserves something good once in a while and we all ought to be happy for him.
Watch Pena watch…
When Brayan Pena takes a pitch watch his head snap back and follow the ball all the way into the catcher’s mitt. The winter I hit with George Brett, the first thing he made me do was watch the ball come out of the pitching machine and follow its flight until it hit the back of the netting.
There aren’t many rules of hitting that someone hasn’t successfully violated, but ALL good hitters see the ball. And to see the ball, you’re head has to stay down.
George point out an added benefit: if you DO take a pitch, but follow it all the way into the catcher’s mitt, it looks like you saw the ball great, but decided it wasn’t worth hitting. George felt that might sway an umpire…I’ll ask Steve Palermo next chance I get (he’ll disagree).
What were they thinking?
Well, SOMEONE needs their butt kicked…and for once, it ain’t me. Whose bright idea was it to have 71,297 people arriving at the stadiums while 20,695 people tried to leave? After the ballgame I had to navigate through a maze of people who had set up their barbeques in the roads and had already started tailgating. I was an eye patch away from doing Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken in “Escape from New York.”
(If you haven’t seen this movie, make an excuse, leave work immediately and head to the video store. This action classic is cheesier than the state of Wisconsin…and that’s a compliment. Oh, and you might as well get “Escape from L.A.” while you’re there. The third installment “Escape from Des Moines” is eagerly awaited.)
One more thing: starting to tailgate at 5:00 PM for a 9:00 PM games isn’t that crazy, but when I drove into the parking lot at noon, people were already getting hammered. Let’s see, nine hours of drinking, go to a football game and THEN drive home…what could go wrong?