Games » Detroit TigersJul8
Giving two away
There’s not much point in worrying about things you don’t control. So when things go bad, take a look at what you do control. In the 3rd inning Kyle Davies walked the leadoff batter, Magglio Ordonez, and true to form, the leadoff walk scored.
In the 9th inning, Tim Collins failed to break toward first right away when a ball was hit toward Eric Hosmer. Hosmer made a diving stop (which temporarily saved a run), came up to throw and Collins wasn’t there. That eventually cost the Royals another run and they lost, you guessed it, by two.
Before the game, Ned Yost said this team just isn’t that far away from being competitive. He pointed out that they often have the tying or winning run at the plate at the end of the game, but still lose. If you’re overloaded with talent you can afford to make mistakes, but the 2011 Royals don’t have that margin of error. They need to control what they can control and they can control throwing strikes and covering bases.
A hard .289
In the 7th inning Billy Butler was out on a 6-3. It was a tough play for the shortstop and just about anybody else would have been safe on the play. Chris Getz would’ve turned into a double and Jarrod Dyson might’ve had an inside-the-parker. So whatever Billy hits, there aren’t a lot of cheap ones in there.
Chris got tossed for the first time in his career after arguing a call at first base. Getz thought he was safe (so did I, but just barely and the call could’ve gone either way…which Getz admitted after seeing the replay). The frustration of scuffling personally and the team losing got to him.
Let’s just say Chris expressed his opinion vociferously, twice, and the umpire said that’s enough. Chris expressed the same opinion a third time while pointing a finger (I told him I thought the finger pointing did him in) and he got tossed.
“So what did you do?” (Players who are ejected have to leave the bench.)
“I really didn’t know where to go. Should I sit just outside the dugout? Should I come up the clubhouse?”
“Next time it happens, call me. We’ll go out to Rivals and have a beer.”
Now that would be funny. Just got to get Getzie tossed again.
Time with Tim
I recently spent some time talking with Tim Collins and he told me often feels like he’s not throwing that well when he’s warming up and hopes to “find it” between the bullpen and the mound. We talked about walks and pitching behind, and he said that usually happens when he’s being “too fine” (trying to just nip the corners) and then has to come back with something a little fatter in the zone.
To complicate matters, pitchers don’t have the same stuff every night, so finding out what you can and can’t do during an appearance is paramount. Starters can do this over the course of a few innings, relievers don’t have that luxury: they need to make adjustments now.
Let the big dog eat
I asked Frenchy if he’s moving the runner when there’s nobody out and someone on second or trying to drive him in. (There’s a sign Eddie Rodriguez can give to let the hitter know what Ned wants done.)
Most of the time, Frenchy’s trying to drive the run in. Which makes sense, he’s on pace for a 100-RBI season.
Let’s go back to Thursday night’s game and take a look at interesting situation that arose in the bottom of the 9th inning. Two outs, down by two and Eric Hosmer walked. The Tigers chose not to hold Hosmer since they were up by two, so Eric took second base. It was scored as “defensive indifference”: no stolen base was awarded.
A couple of interesting points here: Doug Sisson told me that if there had been no outs or one out, the Royals would not have run, even if the Tigers didn’t hold the runner. Two reasons: they wouldn’t want to line into a double play with a runner going and they wouldn’t ask a hitter to take a pitch against a tough closer to allow the runner to take the base. So, take the base with two down, but not otherwise.
Second interesting point: the Tigers probably should’ve held the runner, even up by two. The reason? Jeff Francoeur was at the plate and Frenchy rarely hits the ball through the hole at first. So the Tigers could have held the runner and kept the force in order at no cost to themselves.
And that discussion got us off to another interesting point: Doug said it would raise eyebrows, but if there were runners at first and second and the hitter never put the ball through the 3-hole, why not hold the runner at first? His lead would go from 20 feet to 12, he’d have to wait until he was sure the runner on second took off for third to get his own jump and would probably be an easy out at second, which would stop any chance of a double steal. (Man, there’s always something new to learn in this game.)
OK, back to Thursday night: Hosmer takes second and Francoeur follows that up with an infield single, which moves Hosmer to third. Frenchy’s the tying run so the Royals want him in scoring position. He steals second, but it’s scored “defensive indifference” again.
That started an argument in the press box. The official scorer pointed out that the middle infielders never moved, the counter argument was that they didn’t move because the pitch was so bad it spun the catcher around, Frenchy was being held at first and being the tying run, it was unlikely that the Tigers were indifferent to him being on second. The counter argument eventually won.
To finish off that scenario: After Frenchy stole second Mike Moustakas wound up flying out to left field to end the game. Friday afternoon Moose walked up to me and I said, “You’re lucky, with your name you’ll never know if you’re being booed.”
“Were they booing last night?”
“No, Mike, they weren’t.”
“Yeah, the fans have been great. Someone yelled shake it off as I was coming back to the dugout. But I’ve gotta get a hit there. I get a hit and the game is still going.”
“You can’t control that. You control getting a good pitch. Did you get a good pitch?”
“I flew out on a 2-2 splitter. I had to swing. I got a good pitch earlier in the at-bat, but didn’t do anything with it.”
“You’re right, that’s the key: don’t miss your pitch.”
Which brings up an interesting idea: fans tend to think of an at-bat failing with the last pitch, when the at-bat actually went south several pitches before. Like I said at the beginning, control what you can.