Games » Minnesota TwinsApr29
Is Dyson worth more off the bench?
If you’re a Royals fan you already know what Jarrod Dyson did last night. (Just in case: Jarrod came out as a pinch runner in the 8th, stole second, made the catcher rush, which sent the ball into center field, which allowed Wilson Betemit to score from third and Dyson to advance to third and THEN scored on a sacrifice fly to shortstop. Just your routine F6 sac.)
So I asked Ned Yost which was more valuable: Dyson’s speed over nine innings or Dyson’s speed exactly when you need it? Ned had an interesting answer: if he brings Dyson off the bench, Jarrod is guaranteed to be on base. (So much for the old ‘you can’t steal first’ theory. Apparently, you can borrow it.) Not only is Dyson guaranteed to be on base as a pinch runner, but he’s almost guaranteed to be a pinch runner in a crucial situation, why else would he be out there? Exercise?
Yost said they knew it would be better for Dyson’s development to play every day in the minors, but also knew he could help the Royals win games right now. Last night he did.
The key to the Dyson play was the presence of mind to go back and tag on a ball that looked like a hit and the fact that the shortstop was moving away from the infield. (I can have two keys, can’t I?) If an outfielder catches that ball moving forward there will be a strong throw to the plate. An infielder moving backwards: not so much. (Dyson not only beat the throw, he beat it easily.)
The Royals did look like a different team playing in Kauffman. Chen gave up one home run and it was a solo shot.
The Royals guessed right on a Twins suicide squeeze attempt and pitched out. The pitch out was called by, guess who? Jason Kendall. Yost is letting Jason handle the running game defensively. I told you the guy needs something to do during games so he won’t go nuts. It looks like Ned agrees with me.
Chris Getz did another of those little things that help win games: he started the game with a 10-pitch at-bat. No matter how the at-bat turns out, it’s a good one. He popped out to short, but made Scott Baker work, which gave his teammates a good look at Baker’s stuff and contributed to the Twins pitcher leaving the game after 6 and 1/3.
Outstanding defensive plays all over the yard last night: Alex Gordon’s diving catch is obvious, but he also ran a great route to turn a double into a single, Brayan Pena had another block of a pitch in the dirt with a runner on third that saved a run and Alcides Escobar had another crazy good play that Kila Ka’aihue dropped for an error. (Two things about that play: Kila’s play wasn’t easy. He was fully extended to his right and caught the ball in the very tip of his first baseman’s mitt. It then rolled out. I asked Chris Getz if I could give an outstanding play to Esky when no out was recorded. These are the kind of moral questions that keep philosophers up at night. Since Socrates wasn’t available we decided Esky had done his part and shouldn’t be penalized for someone else’s play.)
I was all set to give Wilson Betemit heads-up base running points for standing in front of the shortstop until the last second on Kila Ka’aihue’s 8th inning single. (It went off Alexi Casilla’s glove.) Unfortunately, Wilson told the truth and said he was just trying to avoid getting hit by the ball. Dude, you got to learn that a well-placed lie is the key to happiness and getting extra points in our system.
A courtesy cleaning
In the bottom of the second Brayan Pena fouled a pitch off the Twins catcher’s mask. Drew Butera appeared to have his bell at least partially rung, so home plate umpire, Marty Foster, came out and cleaned off the plate. This is a courtesy umpires extend to catchers whenever they think a break is needed.
Another point of interest: the umpire always cleans the plate while facing the backstop. Pointing your rear end at the crowd is considered discourteous, so I guess that tells you what they think of pitchers.
Heads or tails?
In a recent game Alex Gordon stole second and then third. He went into second head first and third feet first, why? Alex said he slides head first when he’s not sure he’ll be safe (it’s faster) and feet first when he thinks he’s got it. He also pointed out that when you’re sliding into second the throw is coming from behind and at third the throw is coming from the side, so it’s easier to see how close the play will be at third.
I’d say this is more useless information to clutter the attic of your brain, but this might come in handy at the next company softball game. You might beat out a close play thanks to me and Alex Gordon, but mainly Alex Gordon.
Pelota or ball?
I asked Chris Getz if he communicated with Alcides Escobar in English or Spanish and he said the most basic ‘Spanglish’, but a ball was a ball, not a pelota. Either one would work, but the basic communication, like “Got it, got it, got it” has to be agreed upon beforehand.
I was once getting some outfield instruction from former Royal Tom Poquette and he said we should yell, “Got it” once we were sure we could catch it. I asked. “What if you’ve never been sure in your life?”
How do you say “I might be able to catch it, but on the whole, due to past experience, I prefer that you take it” in espanol?
Another pregame show
My ability to talk for five minutes without dropping a profanity (surprising everyone who knows me) has earned me another appearance on tonight’s Fox Sports pregame show. Apparently, my wardrobe will be one of the subjects. I told Joel Goldberg I was a little nervous the first time, right up until Paul Splittorff started giving me a hard time. Then I was in my element.
Look for more insult-trading tonight. We might even work in some actual information.