Games » Minnesota TwinsSep27
Jarrod Dyson covers more ground than crabgrass. He had 10 putouts in this game. Seemed like 110. The Royals threw a good chunk of the bullpen at the Twins after Kyle Davies spit the bit in the fourth, but the guy who made an impact throughout the nine innings was Dyson.
And he mainly did it with defense. He made one catch up against the fence in the left-center gap and ended the game catching a pop fly (and doubling off the runner) not that far behind first. He’s got more range than an appliance store. (Just hang on, I’ll soon think of some other snappy description of how fast this guy can run.)
Which gets us back to my “In-this-ballpark-the-Royals-should-worry-about-speed-more-than-power” theme: Speed is more versatile (it helps on offense AND defense), it’s more consistent (home run hitters don’t always hit home runs) and it’s cheaper to acquire.
I don’t know if Dyson’s the real deal (Kevin Seitzer says it takes about 300 plate appearances to figure out what a player can do at this level), but players LIKE Dyson would make the Royals (still third in the league in hitting) a team able to make the most out of 10 singles.
Other points of interest…
Jai Miller made a game-saver in the ninth, catching the ball deep in right center and banging off the fence immediately, Josh Fields stabbed a line drive headed down the left-field line, Mike Aviles went WAY up the middle to stop one headed for center, and Lucas May had a great block of a Davies pitch in the dirt that kept a runner on second.
Aviles also demonstrated good base-running in the fourth when he went first to third on a ball that wasn’t that deep, but was forcing the outfielder into a bad throwing angle. Mike picked this up early, made it to third, and the extra 90 feet immediately paid off when Kila Ka’aihue hit a sacrifice fly to right.
For better or worse…
When Lucas May recently had a passed ball, he patiently stood there and answered my questions about glove angle. “Yeah, you screwed up, but what I’d like to know is how you screwed up technically in excruciating detail…and don’t leave anything out.” It’s the journalism version of, “Wow, that bruise looks painful…mind if I poke it?”
I promised him I’d also be at his locker when there was something good to talk about, so here goes: The Twins scored three in the first and there was definitely a “here we go again” feel to the night. In the bottom of the second inning with one run already in, May rifled a two-run double into left, the best ball I’ve seen him hit since his arrival.
That tied the game and turned it around. When an opponent jumps out ahead, but you respond quickly, psychologically you go from thinking this is going to be a long night to thinking you’re right in this thing.
May also had a sacrifice fly in the third and another single in the eighth.
So THAT”S why they win…
On ESPN’S Sunday night Red Sox vs. Yankees game (yeah, I watch baseball in my spare time), they mentioned the Yankees’ infield (Jeter, Cano, Teixeira and A-Rod) had a combined 18 errors on the season.
The more you watch baseball, the more you appreciate how important good defense is to a winning team. If you stink on that side of the ball, it’s hard to make up for it by hitting well. I know everyone gets worked up about the offensive numbers the Royals of the future put up in the minor leagues, but don’t forget to ask if they can catch the ball.
I don’t think it takes a baseball genius to say the Royals won’t be a playoff team until the defense improves.
An error, but it was a tough error…
Betancourt was going back onto the grass and fielding the ball to his backhand side when he clanked it. I don’t question that he should’ve caught the ball, but it was going to be a very tough throw if he did.
More Chen music…
I asked Bruce Chen, even though he’s considered an incredibly nice guy, if there wasn’t some part of him that was upset when Robinson Tejeda gave up five runs and Chen’s chance at a 12th win the other day.
Bruce said, “We all lost, not just me.” He then went on to say everybody wanted to win, nobody was trying harder than Tejeda in that situation and nobody was more upset with the outcome.
Bruce has had his struggles, and I’m guessing he can empathize with someone going through struggles of his own. (So THAT’S how you get the reputation for being a nice guy…empathy…I’m going to have to write that down.)