Games » Arizona DiamondbacksJun23
Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades
Ned Yost said that the first seven hits against Felipe Paulino came on breaking pitches. He sent Bob McClure to the mound tell Felipe to establish his fastball first and then go to his off-speed stuff. From there on in, Paulino gave up a total of two hits, one for a home run. A great adjustment: but too little, too late.
Everyone around the team believes the Royals are getting better. Everyone around the team believes they’re close. And everyone around the team is tired of losing and that includes Dayton Moore. We spoke for a minute or two and that was pretty clear.
I think everyone wants to be upbeat (and that includes me), but at some point you’ve got to win. Mention the close games in St. Louis and the response might be, “Good teams find a way to win those.” For a lot of people, close is no longer cutting it.
A short interview
In the second inning Matt Treanor got doubled off when Chris Getz had a line drive carry further than Matt thought it would. The ball got caught and Treanor was already on his way home. After the game I asked Matt how he was doing and he said, “Good, as long as you’re not going to ask me about base running.”
“Well, I guess this is going to be a short interview.” Getz, who lockers next to Matt, started laughing.
“Hey, don’t feel bad, it was clearly Getzie’s fault. I’ve spoken to him repeatedly about not hitting the ball all the way to the outfield.”
“Yeah, when I get barrel, it’s generally not a good thing.”
There is a baseball philosophy that it doesn’t help to be fast when you hit a fly ball. The same thing applies to Dyson as well as Getz: keep the ball on the ground and use your speed. When Getz does that, he can cause some problems.
They’re not pitching machines
Getz and I talked about the tendency to forget there’s another team out there. Fans can sometimes view the game solely through their team’s efforts and six hits isn’t very good. Chris pointed out that the Diamondbacks’ Daniel Hudson is top of the line in the National League. He’s now 9-5 with a 3.58 ERA.
“They’re not pitching machines.”
Facing different pitchers will give you different results. That seems dumb when you say it (or post it on a website), but saying our guys sucked doesn’t take into account who they faced.
Now if they face some bottom of the division punching bag and still put up lousy totals, fans might have a complaint.
There was still talk around the park about Wednesday night’s 9th inning. Ned said that Hosmer made a mistake in swinging at the first pitch when Dyson was stealing and Getz made a mistake stealing third when he did. Yost thought Chris should stay where he was until Dyson got on and then they’d both steal while Hosmer took a pitch. He also said it was part of the learning process they had to go through as ballplayers. Ned knows a 10,000 times as much baseball as I do, but it still seems like there were several legitimate ways to look at the situation and if the manager wanted to Chris to stay put and Eric to take a pitch, a “don’t steal” sign (which they have) and a ‘take’ sign would be in order.
Different managers might handle things in different ways. Putting the signs on would have made sure the players knew how Ned wanted to handle the situation.
Making Hosmer look good
The Diamondbacks had two errors, an E2 on a pickoff and an E5. The E2 cost a couple runs. Both probably could have been avoided with a better glove at first. Juan Miranda swiped at the short hops, but came up with nothing but air. It should make fans appreciate Eric Hosmer. He’s been bailing out his teammates since he arrived. This infield would look a lot worse without Hosmer at first.
Interleague pain in the neck
Tonight the Cubs are in town. Playing interleague is bad enough, but playing interleague against a team you haven’t seen in a few years is even worse. Why? Preparing the scouting reports.
When you play the same teams over and over, you just update the reports. When you play a team you don’t see very often, everything has to be built from scratch. There are a lot of people losing a lot of sleep every time a team like the Cubs comes to town.
Playing interleague is a pain in the neck - or lower.
Quality time with Frenchy
Before the game Jeff Francoeur and I sat in the indoor batting cage and shot the breeze. Frenchy said about a hundred interesting things and I’ll repeat a few:
First: He’s been holding a pity party for himself because he’s been hitting the ball hard and getting nothing out of it. He knows he’s got to change his attitude because guys like Hosmer and Moustakas are watching.
“You mean you can’t send the message that this is the way you deal with scuffling?’
“Exactly.” In Atlanta he had veterans who would tell him to shake it off and pick it up. Here, Frenchy’s the veteran and he’s the guy that has to set the example. If he scuffles, so be it, but he doesn’t want to walk around moping, bringing everybody else down.
Second: Frenchy says it’s easy to sign autographs afterwards when you went 3 for 4 with two doubles. Signing when you took an 0-fer and the team lost for the sixth time in a row is little tougher. He said he was in a lousy mood the other night, but as he walked out of the park, 20 kids were waiting, so he signed. They don’t care if he had a bad night, getting an autograph is a big deal and Jeff understands that. He was one of the kids who would wait outside the Braves clubhouse to get a ball signed.
Third: He talked about pitching and how much tougher it is than when he came up. Why? Bullpens. When Jeff started, more guys were throwing complete games. Frenchy thinks that was to the hitters’ advantage. No matter how good a guy was, seeing him four or five times helped the hitters out. Seeing a pitcher for the fifth time, when he was gassed and lost some velocity and movement really helped the hitters out.
Now you see a guy three times, maybe, and every at-bat after that is a new guy who’s fresh. Maybe all this bullpen specialization makes sense. Jeff also said that guy like Hoz and Moose have a lot of adjusting to do. In Triple A they may have seen someone who’d pitched in the big leagues every 4th or 5th night. Now every night and every at-bat is tough. Makes you think twice about getting too worked up about minor league numbers.
Fourth: He really dug me getting hit by that pitch. “You showed everybody what we go through.” Guys up in the clubhouse have massive bruises and still go out and play the next day. Even though what I did was painful, he said fouling one off the shin was even worse. “I’ve never fouled one off my shin and not had the next pitch in the exact same place.”
Later that night Jeff doubled and scored a run, but win or lose, multi-hit game or 0-fer, Jeff Francoeur signs autographs afterwards.
Seems like quite a few people get quality time with Frenchy.