Games » Boston Red SoxJul28
Why Hochevar and Davies are still in the rotation
It would certainly simplify things if players would be consistent, either play great all the time or suck all the time. Then we’d all know who to cut and who to keep. Unfortunately, in real life, players go through streaks, both good and bad. Take this series for example: Who beat the best team in the American League?
Many fans (and members of the media) have been calling for those two pitchers to be cut from the rotation. Here’s the problem: there’s a real shortage of human beings that can beat the Boston Red Sox. Even once in a while. That’s why Davies and Hochevar are still here. They’ve got the ability to pitch extremely well. The question then becomes, how often?
How often can they do what they did in Boston? Dayton Moore and Ned Yost can’t afford to have knee-jerk reactions to all the ups and downs players go through. The Royals don’t have enough talent to throw two guys away who might be able to pitch like this consistently. I sure don’t know how many chances you give them or if they’ve now figured things out, but I do know there aren’t a lot of pitchers capable of doing what these two just pulled off.
The Royals play their game
After the last two nights, I’m going to define a 4-3 ball game in Fenway as a low-scoring contest. Tuesday and Wednesday the Red Sox got the Royals into their kind of game: let’s stand around and see how far we can hit the ball, first one to 10 runs wins. Thursday was the Royals kind of contest: good pitching, good defense and scoring a single run matters.
Speaking of good defense: two more scoops for Hosmer. Both of them not only got the Royals outs, but both of them prevented errors and possible runners in scoring position. If you look at Hosmer’s player profile, about two-thirds of those outstanding plays are errors he’s prevented.
He prevented another one to lead off the 6th when Alcides Escobar did a 360 and launched the ball in Hosmer’s general direction. (I’ll bet Kevin Youkilis would be willing to drive Esky and Hos to the airport, he was their victim once again.) With Hosmer at first, Esky does not have to take an extra beat to make a more accurate throw. (But let’s hope Esky doesn’t just assume Eric will take care of him and launch bad throws when he does have a time to be more accurate.)
On the postgame show with Joel Goldberg, Jeff Francoeur credited the two plate appearances that lead off the 4th for the four runs they scored. Alex Gordon and Mitch Maier both walked while seeing a combined 16 pitches. That meant Josh Beckett had already thrown an inning’s worth of pitches before Billy Butler ever stepped to the plate and crushed another home run.
The Royals probably blew getting another run in the inning when Chris Getz stepped to the plate with Mike Moustakas on third and Matt Treanor on first. There was one down (it’s when you run the suicide) and Getz bunted the ball. He didn’t try for a base hit with the bunt, just got it down in front of the plate. Chris then looked up at third and seemed surprised that Moose wasn’t coming down the line. Someone probably missed a sign and when I find out who, I’ll score it.
The scorekeeper (who also gave Francoeur a double on a ball I thought was an error) then gave Chris a credit for a sacrifice bunt when Treanor moved to second. You might see a pitcher in the National League bunt with one down, but it’s unlikely in the American. For now, Chris Getz a sacrifice (get it?), but don’t be stunned if that scoring changes.
Chris also had a strange play on an attempted steal in the 9th. Halfway down, he looked in and slowed up, then took off again. He was barely out, so the slowdown cost him a steal and the Royals a run when Escobar followed up with a single to right. Getz has played very heads-up baseball all summer and may have made three mental mistakes in the last two games. (I don’t know for sure until I find out what was going on out there.) Mental mistakes from a smart ballplayer often means a tired ballplayer and Chris hasn’t had a lot of breaks since he was named the everyday second baseman. Or, I’m totally wrong and it means nothing of the kind. Take your pick.
If I remember correctly, Boston pitched out on the play and then pitched out again when Escobar stole later in the inning. Once might be a coincidence, but guessing right twice makes you wonder if they stole a sign.
It looked goofy, but Francoeur’s athleticism is what allowed him to make that game-saving catch in the 9th inning. With a man on, down by one, Carl Crawford hit what appeared to be a walk-off home run. The first rule for catching a fly ball is to get behind it. Frenchy raced into the corner and did his job too well. The wind caught the ball and held it up, so when Jeff turned to find it, he was now too deep. You want to catch a fly ball above your shoulders for a lot of reasons, but one of the main ones is to prevent your head from moving. Following the ball from above your head to below your knees snaps your head down and makes focus difficult. Falling backwards, Jeff reached out and stabbed the ball somewhere around his knees. It didn’t look easy and it was still way harder than it looked.
Tim Bogar’s review
As I mentioned yesterday, Tim Bogar, third base coach for the Red Sox, is a buddy. Bogie called me Wednesday night and I thought his impressions of the Royals were interesting. It’s easy to know what we think of the team here in Kansas City, but how does an opponent see the Royals?
After three games Bogie’s impression of the Royals will sound familiar: much better than last year, more athletic, much better defense, we need to improve the starting pitching, but the bullpen is very good. Eric Hosmer is the most exciting young player he’s seen in the American League in a long time and Alcides Escobar can really pick it. He also said the Royals outfield was the best he’d seen this season.
I know I thought all that stuff, but it’s nice to know he thinks all that stuff.
See you in August, Bogie.