Games » Toronto Blue JaysJun7
It was just bad baseball
After the game, I asked Royals manager Ned Yost if he thought the desire to help pitcher Vin Mazzaro after his previous bad outing caused some of the players to try to do too much Tuesday night. He said no. “It was just bad baseball.”
So what was Ned talking about?
*In the first inning, the usually reliable catcher Matt Treanor bounced a throw while trying to throw out a runner. The ball skipped into center field. The Blue Jays’ runner, Yunel Escobar, got up and headed for third base, and center fielder Melky Cabrera matched Treanor by overthrowing the base and allowing Escobar to score from first on a stolen-base attempt.
*In the second inning, Jeff Francoeur was about to catch a fly ball to right field when he veered off after seeing Melky approaching at full speed. Frenchy thought Melky was going to take the ball, but he peeled off too soon. It’s the centerfielder’s call, but the corner outfielders have to keep coming until the call is made. Jeff took full responsibility and said what he did was stupid, once again proving he’s a class act … but a class act who made a mental mistake.
*That fly ball turned into a leadoff double, and the next batter laid down a bunt. Mazzaro picked it up and was directed by Treanor to throw to third base. (The catcher makes the call because the pitcher has his head down). The batter was safe.
*Vin went on to give up six runs in five innings. The fact that this outing was a step in the right direction reminds you how bad his last outing was (although he had been pitching well in AAA Omaha).
*Mike Aviles had two high throws. One of the plays was ruled a hit because the runner appeared to beat the throw to first base, but Mike still overthrew everything. He also had a high throw on a feed to Chris Getz, but Chris stayed on the bag and make the catch. After the game, Mike told me there was no mechanical issue involved.
*Even with all this going on, the Royals had pulled to within one run of the Blue Jays when reliever Tim Collins came into the game. I’ve written about Tim’s tendency to walk batters and then power his way out of trouble, but it didn’t work in this game. He lead off the sixth inning by walking Jose Bautista. He then got Adam Lind to hit into a fielder’s choice (so in effect the walk was still on base). He threw a curve to J.P. Arencibia and then followed that with six straight fastballs. Ned Yost thought that was about one fastball too many because it left a dent in the back wall of the Royals bullpen.
OK. So that’s the stuff the Royals did that helped them lose. What did they do to help themselves win?
*Getz made a nifty play to cut down a lead runner, Francoeur made a catch while banging off the outfield wall and Alcides Escobar got an out on a ball hit up the middle that would never have been caught a year ago.
*Frenchy had two hits. So did Eric Hosmer. So did Melky. And so did Alcides.
*Francoer drove in three runs. Getz turned a single into a double by hustling out of the box. Esky stole a base. Even when Francoeur made an out, he drove in a run and moved a runner over.
*Matt Treanor came into the game with a .359 on-base percentage, and it went up after two more walks.
So Ned Yost was right. Overall, it was bad baseball, but it wasn’t all bad.
Hosmer wears it
If you were watching the game Monday night, you saw Eric Hosmer get his game-winning hit, round first base, stop, turn to the dugout and put his hands up over his head. Hos had decided to “wear” it, which is baseball slang for putting up with something, taking responsibility for something. … Heck, it can be used in a variety of ways.
The Royals celebrate game-winners by gathering around the hero and punching him in the ribs. (Hey, I just report this stuff. I can’t explain some of it.) The usual routine is for the victim to curl into a ball and protect himself. Hosmer decided to lift his arms and let his teammates use him as a punching bag.
It’s one of those weird team-building exercises. Maybe you could adopt it at your place of work. Somebody writes a big insurance policy and everyone in the office beats the snot out of him.
A moving story
Someone asked me what the situation was for players who moved between teams, so I asked Royals reliever Greg Holland. Greg said that when you come up to the majors, you get a seven-day paid hotel stay, but after that, you’re on your own. Greg said that when you are sent down to the minors, you get nothing.
Ever wonder why they’re so happy to get to the big leagues? The baseball is harder, but the life is easier.
I don’t know how this changes your life, but Eric Hosmer’s black first-baseman’s mitt is about to wear out. If it breaks during a game, I guess you can say you heard it here first. He’s currently breaking in a blue and gray model that will make its debut whenever the black one goes. These guys always have at least three gloves going: the gamer, the old gamer (to be used in an emergency) and a new one that usually is worn during batting practice until it’s ready.
If you don’t see hitting coach Kevin Seitzer in the dugout when the Royals are on defense, it probably is because he’s down in his cubbyhole, watching at-bats. If you go down the dugout steps and turn left, there’s an equipment room. Kevn has a laptop and a TV stuck in the back corner. He sits on a stool and watches the at-bats from the previous inning. (He says it gets really hot in there.) The players can’t come in unless Kevin asks them to, but if he spots a pattern he might call somebody in to see how they’re pitching him.
Kevin called in Jeff Francoeur after one unsuccessful plate appearance, showed him the pitch pattern the opposing team was using and Frenchy went back out and got two hits.