Games » Chicago CubsJun25
One guy doesn't win a game, either
Chris Getz did not lose Friday’s ballgame by himself and he sure didn’t win Saturday’s game on his own, either.
Danny Duffy kept his pitch count way down, went a career high seven innings and showed that he’s continuing to improve. Alex Gordon had another assist when Reed Johnson tried to score and got cut down at the plate, a play that wouldn’t have been possible without Matt Treanor on the other end. Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler had RBIs. Jeff Francoeur came off the bench, walked and scored the winning run. Greg Holland put up a scoreless inning, Joakim Soria got a save, etc. etc. etc..
A baseball game is a collection of little things and moments, done well or poorly. If my collection of little things done well is bigger than your collection of little things done well, I win. It’s easy to focus on the big things: ESPN will show the home run shot and the newspaper will have a headline, but Mitch Maier hustling and holding DJ Lemahieu to a single in the 7th so he could be forced at second four pitches later, tends to go unnoticed.
It was just one more small thing, done well.
Coaches will talk about “winning the inning.” Some even talk about “winning each pitch.” Do it often enough and you win a ball game, like the Royals did Saturday night. But nobody does it on their own.
Lucky it’s not football
Chris Getz talked about how tough the last 24 hours had been. He booted a ball in the 9th inning Friday and got to think about all day Saturday. At least it’s not football. Thinking about a mistake for a week would be tough. With baseball you get a chance to come out the next day and do something good and Chris did.
Chris went back to Friday night’s play and said, despite what some people think, he did not make the error because he was rushing to turn a double play. It’s hard enough to get one out in this league and Getz said that’s the first order of business: make sure you get at least one out.
Scorekeepers can’t assume double plays and it turns out big league ballplayers can’t either.
Eric Hosmer again swung at the first pitch with runners on first and third, but Ned Yost said it was a totally different situation. It was early in the game and trying to get one run in from third with one down was an OK strategy.
Chris Getz, who’s hitting over .360 with runners in scoring position, said the trick is to not try to do too much. The runner’s already in scoring position, you don’t have to bang it off the wall. But be patient. Chris thought hitters who feel like it has to happen right now get themselves in trouble by chasing pitches.
At least I throw better than Paul Rudd
On more than one occasion I’ve been told that I have a tendency to be impulsive. (Of course, I told those people to go #$@% themselves.) So when I get an idea (hey, what if I get hit by a pitch?) it’s usually out of my mouth before I have time to think it through.
Which brings us to Jeff Francoeur.
I was sitting in the dugout thinking I hadn’t done any video with Frenchy, which is a shame, he’s a larger-than-life personality and naturally hilarious. Doug Sisson walked by, and before I thought it through, I said, “Sis, anyway I can go on the field and throw with Francoeur to show what a normal guy’s arm looks like when it’s compared with his?”
Doug got a big grin and said, “Tomorrow, 3:30. You’ll throw with the outfielders.” Wow, that was quick. I thought I’d have a while to work on my throwing. I haven’t played in years and even then I was mainly managing. (I’m just too good at judging talent to let me play for me.)
The Royals outfielders come out early and throw to bases before the first game of every series and now I was included in Friday’s session.
The news spread quickly, mainly because I walked up to Frenchy, Alex Gordon and Mitch Maier and said, “Hey, I’m throwing with you guys tomorrow.” (They all locker together, Melky Cabrera’s on the other side of the room, plus Melky either doesn’t speak English or has done an excellent job of making me think he doesn’t speak English.) Mitch, Alex and Jeff all started laughing.
Mitch: “No way, you won’t get it home on two bounces, no make that four.”
Frenchy: “Why are you burying Lee? I think he can do it in two.”
Alex: “I’m looking forward to this.” (The season’s long and anything that breaks up the monotony is a treat.)
Me: “People see you guys throw and have no idea how hard that is. I want them to see what it looks like when a normal guy tries the same thing.”
Mitch: “You’re not normal.”
It all happened so quickly, my only preparation for the next day was going home and eating half a key lime pie at 1 in the morning. (It had been sitting there in the refrigerator, taunting me and my theory was that if I ate it all at once my body could only absorb so much of the fat. I don’t have a medical degree.)
The next day I showed up and got to go out on the field and shag flies during early BP. Once you walk out there, you realize how huge the distances are. Stand at dead center (I did) and look home and see the ants hitting the ball and it’s unbelievable that anyone can hit one that far. I said that to Danny Duffy and he said, “Torii Hunter not only hit one over the wall, but a couple other walls behind it.”
The range the defenders have is incredible. I told Danny that if I were in right, I’d cover about 10 feet to my right and left, another 10 forward and nothing behind me.
It came time to throw to the bases. I got lucky and Paul Rudd was at second, Rob Riggle was at third and Horatio Sanz was at home. Frenchy, Mitch and I were in right and Jeff thought he and Mitch should light the Hollywood guys up with the real deal. I made one good (too strong? … relatively unembarrassing?) throw to second (only after I dropped the ball) and the rest of my throws were exercises in humiliation.
I took numerous hops to get the ball to third, dribbled one to home that still hasn’t made it to Horatio Sanz and when I decided to really let go on the last one, made it on several bounces, but hit the third base dugout.
Mitch: “See? I told you it was too far.” (Can’t argue.)
Later in the dugout Mike Moustakas tried to comfort me by saying this: “It wasn’t that bad, it was bad, but not that bad, not as bad as you think. But it was bad.” Geez, Moose, ever think of going into sports psychology?
Anyway, we’ll soon have the video posted and you can see just how bad it was. I asked Frenchy to give me an assessment afterwards and he said, “Love the attitude, love the pants (I was wearing old uniform pants from my playing days), but you didn’t make the team.”
“So you’re telling me I’m more of an offensive guy, like a DH?”
“Remember when you got hit by that pitch? That’s your role: we send you to the plate to get drilled and Dyson comes out to run for you.” See? I do have major league skills.
P.S. That night the Cubs got gunned down on the bases three times by Royals outfielders and I’m taking credit. Clearly, the Cubs saw me throw and figured extra bases were a lock. Maybe I should throw before every game to set the rest of the guys up … but it was bad, not as bad as you think, but it was bad.