Games » Toronto Blue JaysApr19
Brayan Pena had a brutal game behind the plate, a reminder of how things looked before Jason Kendall got here. To be fair, Bannister’s stuff was moving all over the place, but even more reason to block correctly. Pena tried to backhand a strikeout pitch in the dirt. The correct play is: drop to the knees, fill the space between the legs with the mitt, put the chin on chest to protect the throat and roll the shoulders forward. (Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? That’s why some catchers reach with the glove instead).
If you do it right, your chest is over the ball and when it comes up, it will hit your chest protector and drop straight down in front of you.
Pena’s form was better on the next ball that got away, but he came up too soon and the ball got underneath him. Bannister was charged with two wild pitches, but Pena should’ve stopped them.
And to top things off, he got hit three times with a bat, once for catcher’s interference and took an 0-fer. And you thought you had a tough day at the office.
How many times do I have to tell you?
DeJesus’ mental mistake was trying to advance to third from second on a ball hit to the shortstop. You can get away with this if the shortstop has to move to his left, his momentum carries him away from third, but this ball was right at the shortstop and he got DeJesus easily. This is a fundamental mistake that shouldn’t be happening at the major league level, and yet the Royals screw this up regularly.
Callaspo didn’t help matters. With a runner on second and nobody out, his job was to hit the ball to the right side of the infield so DeJesus could advance safely. He was impatient and swung at the second pitch he saw, a pitch that was unsuitable for getting the job done.
Rick Ankiel wore me down. He’s made so many difficult plays look routine and I haven’t given him an outstanding play yet. He got a rocket hit at him, turned to run with it, had it over the wrong shoulder and got turned around to make the catch smoothly over the other shoulder. All while going full-speed.
I’ve attempted this play myself and so far have mastered getting the ball over the wrong shoulder. When I attempt to make the full-speed, blind turn to the other side, the result resembles one of those Daytona 500 wrecks where the car does a dozen rolls across the infield. I have even, on occasion, burst into flames.
Betancourt also got points for going a long way to catch a pop foul with Gordon and Maier bearing down on him. Maier took him out, but he held on, getting the Royals out of a runners-at-second-and-third mess.
So far I’m saving outstanding play points for situations where the Royals get an out that I didn’t expect, but Ankiel’s doing everything right before the ball arrives and making the catches look easy…they’re not.
No minus points, but…
Poor baserunning by Betancourt in the 6th. He was on first with one down. DeJesus hit a line drive single to right. One down is the time you try to make it to third if you can; especially on a ball hit to right (it’s the longest throw to third). The ball was hit so hard Betancourt probably couldn’t have made it anyway, but by shutting it down and jogging into second he made sure there was no chance.
If he ran hard he could always shut it down at second after he got there. This might possibly force a bad throw by an outfielder in a hurry. Breaking into a jog made sure he couldn’t take advantage of any mistake and took the pressure off the defense.
Having coached third for over 500 ballgames, I can tell you good baserunners are like dogs pulling on a leash. Always pressing, pressing, pressing…the slightest mistake and they’re gone.
Bad baserunners relax at every opportunity, and when they relax, the defense can relax.