Games » Cleveland IndiansApr20
Why Ned stayed with Luke
OK, Luke Hochevar was lights out for five innings, blew up like the Hindenburg in the sixth and then comes back out for the seventh. Why?
Because Ned Yost wanted to see if he could do it.
After the game I asked catcher Matt Treanor if he was surprised Luke was sent back out for the seventh inning after five hits, a walk and two balks in the sixth. Matt said a bit, but understood what Ned was doing: Luke is the No. 1 guy, and he’s got to learn to work through bad innings. Treanor pointed out that the next time Luke blows up, it might be the third or the fourth and going to the pen early might not be an option.
“So this was a long-term managing move?”
Absolutely. Fans tend to think short-term: I’m here at this game, I want to see a win. Managers have to think long term, otherwise Joakim Soria would pitch every inning of every game. Ned’s trying to develop Luke into a #1 guy and this is the kind of stuff No. 1 guys have to do.
Interesting point: apparently Hochevar had retired 31 straight batters before giving up a lead-off single in the sixth. After five 1-2-3 innings in this game, people in the press box were starting to think we might be on the verge of seeing something special. When Hoch gave up the single to Michael Brantley, it took me back to a conversation I had with Clint Hurdle.
I asked Clint if he had ever noticed how a pitcher would go from throwing a perfect game to not being able to get out of an inning. I said that if a pitcher gave up his first hit late, it seemed like a good time to visit the mound. The guy’s probably upset and out of focus and reminding him how well he’s pitched, but there’s still more to do, might help him regain his composure.
Clint said, “That’s good. I’m going to use that,” which impressed me deeply: 1. A major-league manager put his ego aside and used a good idea, no matter the source. 2. I came up with a good idea? (For the record, Matt Treanor agreed and went to the mound to deliver that exact message after the second hit … but it didn’t help, so maybe it wasn’t such a hot idea after all.)
The TV appearance
The Fox Sports Midwest guys invited me on the pregame show, and I jumped at the chance. That meant showing up for a rehearsal at 3 p.m. for the 6:30 show, which was nice of them. Joel Goldberg, Kevin Shank and the guys all came out to help me get comfortable with the process, which goes like this:
Someone is talking to you through an earpiece. Other people are talking to you at the same time in real life. You need to look at Joel when he speaks to you, but then turn and look at the camera when you speak and make sure that when you turn, you take the microphone with you and then find the right camera, because there are two, so someone will point at the camera that’s on and then when they roll video they will point at the monitor showing the video so you can describe what you’re seeing and (let me take a breath) in the meantime, Paul Splittorff will be giving you a hard time about being a “cartoon boy.”
Baseball humor being what it is, Joel and Kevin warned me that Paul was going to pull an old cartoon out and give me a hard time about it. They then set me up to get back at Split by asking me who my all-time favorite Royals lefthander was.
I’m not sure of the timing, but I think that was when Split punched me in the shoulder. The guys couldn’t have been nicer, and they really helped me through the experience. Any moment that seemed less than professional was on me. (Although three people from The Star warned me not to cuss on the air, which I managed to do … but it was a long five minutes.) Apparently, it went well because they’re inviting me back.
Side note: After showing up in a mangy, moth-eaten knit tie from the ’80s, the website editor offered to take me tie shopping before the next appearance. My response?
“But I already own a tie.”
Keep watching to see how long I can get away without investing in any new neckwear.
*I asked Kila Ka’aihue if he’d found something in this game (a walk, two solid singles). He said same approach, but this time it worked. At this level, hitters will tell you, one hittable pitch per at-bat is all you can expect. If you miss it or foul it off, you’re in trouble. Major league pitchers rarely make two mistakes in one at-bat.
(Sometimes they don’t make any: last year, on a night when Zack Greinke had it working, he stuck out Red Sox Kevin Youkilis in Kevin’s first at-bat. Youkilis apparently came into the dugout, flipped the bat away and said, “Sweet Jesus, we’ve got no chance.”)
Anyway, Kila said that in this game he hit the hittable pitches he had been fouling off.
*Chris Getz got hit with a pitch on his sore left shin (got taken out while making a double play) and still got down to break up a double play.
*Matt Treanor had the beginnings of a porn ‘stache going, but after a bad night (0-3, 2 strikeouts) he says it’s gone. Check out the game tomorrow to see if he stuck to his plan.
*If you look at the box score tomorrow you’re going to see that Jeff Francoeur had an error. This is another case of numbers not telling the full story. I missed it once in live action and twice on video, so after the game I asked Mike Aviles what happened when a runner tried to advance to third and Frenchy’s throw got away.
“Ball hit the runner in the head, if that doesn’t happen, he’s out.”
Good throw, bad luck and Francoeur gets the E.
*Kanekoa Texeira told me his finishing position wasn’t the greatest. He falls off the mound to the first base side. I asked how he protected himself if a line drive came back at him: “Jump straight up, that way you don’t get hit in the head.” Learn something new every day, don’t you?
Speaking of Tex
He issued an intentional walk in this game. For the purposes of this system we don’t count those. They’re strategy, not failures, although we do need to add a ‘balk’ category. For now I’m putting Hochevar’s balk with a runner on third as a defensive mistake. Clearly, starting your motion and then stopping is a brain cramp.