Games » Boston Red SoxAug19
A deep lineup
Here’s the problem: without David Ortiz or Kevin Youkilis playing, the Boston Red Sox lineup is still so deep that the 8-hole hitter has 12 home runs in 78 games. After Friday’s game, Boston third base coach Tim Bogar called Jarrod Saltalamacchia (hereafter known as ‘Jarrod’ or ‘Salty’ so I don’t have to spell that name again) a “dangerous” hitter. Leave the ball in the right place (or wrong, depending on your point of view) and Jarrod can whack it a long way. Jeff Francis actually had his 0-2 changeup down, but Salty is a low-ball hitter, and the Francis’ changeup got whacked a long way.
And that’s from a guy who doesn’t play all the time and hits in the bottom third of the order.
Last night, after Jeff Francoeur hitting in the 5-hole, the Royals had a rookie second baseman, still figuring out the big leagues, a back-up catcher, a rookie third baseman still figuring out the big leagues and a shortstop whose glove is so good everyone will be happy if he hits .240 without much pop.
That doesn’t mean the Royals lineup won’t be deep in good hitters soon. A lot of people, including Bogar, think the hitters at the bottom of the Royals order will be very good. But last night, the Royals 6-7-8 and 9-hole hitters contributed one hit, one walk and one run (all from Mike Moustakas). The last four hitters in the Red Sox lineup contributed four hits including a double, a triple, and a home run, a walk, four runs and four RBIs.
And that’s what happens when you have a deep lineup.
The bad news is the Red Sox pounded the Royals for 13 hits last night and the Royals only countered with four. As I just pointed out, the Red Sox lineup is deeper than the Royals lineup.
The good news is the situation might change soon. Tim Bogar sees a team on the rise here in Kansas City. He thinks Hosmer will be a star and loves Escobar’s range. Tim says he needs to see more of Giavotella on defense, but likes what he sees at the plate. Bogie thinks Mike Moustakas is going to be fine and pointed out that last night’s double the other way was a good sign of a hitter beginning to figure it out. And Bogar says the Royals outfield is the best he’s seen so far this season.
So while the Royals aren’t there yet, one of their opponents sees a team on the verge of winning. He just hopes that doesn’t start until Monday.
I know Alcides Escobar made an error last night and it’s not recorded on the game grid. That’s because I somehow got one error off on his record and while it’s easy to add a number, removing a number from the website takes an act of Congress and a voodoo spell. I wasn’t exactly pulling for Alcides to make an error, but he solved a problem for me last night when he did.
And now he can play clean the rest of the way. Thanks, Esky.
Sorry if you’re getting sick of Tim Bogar information, but I’m trying to get all the knowledge I can out of his head in the short time he’s here, and there’s a lot of knowledge in that head. Try this one: Bogie said that this is the time of year a lot of young pitchers get lit up. All across the major leagues, a lot of young pitchers are about to go into the tank.
They’re not used to this many innings and don’t have the skills to get through games without their best stuff. Tim didn’t think Josh Beckett was all that sharp Thursday night, but Beckett has the skills to get people out anyway. Young pitchers will just keep trying to throw harder even though the life is off their fastball and the curves don’t have the same movement.
So if you can still make moves in your fantasy league (sorry, don’t do that and don’t know how it works) you may want to move that young pitcher.
Two old catchers and an older cartoonist
So I’m sitting with John Gibbons and John Wathan (Gibby said I ruined a perfectly good day by walking up and sitting down) and the talk turned to their playing days. Gibby said he was all set to be a starter one season, but took an elbow to the cheek on a play at the plate. His cheekbone was fractured and that was that.
Duke said, “What the hell were we thinking, taking our masks off on plays at the plate?” John said it did make for a better picture in the paper, but if you could catch 120 pitches with a mask on¸ why couldn’t you catch a ball from the outfield with a mask on?
Not only did they expose their faces to damage by making plays without masks, but they also played the game with no more protection for their craniums than a cloth cap. Then they talked about all the times they took shots to the heads. I said, “So now I know what’s wrong with you guys.”
Gibby was right, I did ruin a perfectly good day.
Gio’s psychological edge
Johnny ran off the field the other day carrying two gloves and I asked which one was his gamer. He showed me that, but the other glove was a “practice glove” much smaller than a normal glove. His game glove measures 11½ inches from heel to the top of the forefinger. His practice glove measures 9½.
Johnny said using such a small glove in practice gave him confidence when he got to use his bigger glove in the game. I pointed out that he’d could save the money on the smaller glove and just practice with his bare hands, that should make him really confident with any glove at all.
Johnny is not taking my suggestion. (Kids today, they just won’t listen.)
The Royals philosophy
As promised, I asked Doug Sisson the Royals philosophy on outfield positioning. Sis said, “We defend the good pitch, not the bad one.” So the Royals will tend to position shallower rather than deeper. If a Royals pitcher makes a good pitch and gets a pop-up or flare, the Royals want to get an out.
If a Royals pitcher makes a bad pitch and the ball is smoked, they’ll tip their caps and live with it. Fans should, too. Don’t be mad that an outfielder wasn’t positioned on the warning track when a ball is hit off the wall: that one is on the pitcher.
On the other hand, you can blame outfield positioning when a flare drops in-between the outfield and infield. The outfielders have to stand somewhere before the pitch is thrown, they just need to stand where they have the best chance of recording an out and that’s shallower rather than deeper.