Games » Cleveland IndiansSep3
What went wrong for Chris Getz at shortstop
Alcides Escobar has a sprained ankle, so the Royals are taking this chance to look at Chris Getz at shortstop. What I’ve heard is that the Royals would like to see whether Chris could fill the role of utility infielder. If he can do it defensively, Chris’ offensive versatility would be a nice fit.
So how did it go Saturday night?
Chris got three chances at short. He spiked the first ball for an E6, threw the second low so Eric Hosmer helped him out and came so far forward on the third chance, he was making the throw from the second base position anyway.
After the game, I asked Royals manager Ned Yost what adjustment Chris needed to make. “Throw higher,” Yost said. (Ned can be pretty funny when he’s in the mood.) Ned then went on to break it down a little more technically. Chris has plenty of arm. Yost has seen it in practice.
On the first throw, Getz was trying to come over the top. Second basemen throw from a lower arm angle, and Chris has been working on getting his arm fully extended on the throw from short. From the new arm angle, Getz misjudged his release point and buried the throw. Afterward, third-base coach Eddie Rodriguez told Chris he was close enough he could have thrown from his usual lower arm angle.
So on the next chance, Chris dropped down, but this time he was too far away and should have been over the top. On the third chance ,I think he just decided to grab the ball and run it over to first. Anyway, according to Ned, Chris’ problem is not lack of arm strength. It’s learning to select the right arm angle and release point while moving at game speed.
This stuff is not simple.
On the other hand …
In the second inning with runners on first and third, Getz hustled down to second on Alex Gordon’s grounder and made the pivot man get out of the way before throwing. The delay meant Gordo was safe, Salvador Perez scored and the inning did not end on a double play.
Luke Hochevar threw great. This is what they’ve been working toward. Hoch kept the ball down (which, according to pitching coach Bob McClure, is the No. 1 factor in a pitcher’s success) worked both sides of the plate (according to Mac, a pitcher who’s down can use more of the plate laterally, a pitcher who’s up needs to hit corners) and threw strikes.
McClure and I spent a lot of time talking the last two days, and he told me he once conducted an informal poll of players. He asked each of them how long he had been in the big leagues before he felt like they got it. Like the player understood what he needed to do at this level. The most common answer was four full seasons.
Which is just about how long Luke Hochevar has been around.
You’re going to see an error next Eric Hosmer’s name in this game’s box score. Tough scoring. The ball went through the webbing on Hosmer’s glove. Eric spends a lot of time tightening the webbing on his glove (a 96 mph throw from Alcides Escobar will loosen it up pretty fast), but clearly it wasn’t tight enough. After the inning, they went to work on it and got back in shape.
Several times, first-base coach Doug Sisson has given me information on how the Royals or the opposing team will play its outfield and what that will mean to the game. I always ask whether it’s OK to write this stuff (it makes it more interesting for the fans if they actually know what the pitcher is trying to do). Doug always says yes.
This isn’t inside information. A hitter can come to the plate, take a look at the defense and have a pretty good idea of how the pitcher plans to attack him. So the hitter, the pitcher and the defense all know what’s going on. The only people left out are the fans.
When a new hitter is announced, watch the defense shift and you will have a better idea of what’s about to happen next. If the outfield shifts to the opposite field and the hitter pulls the ball, the pitcher made a mistake inside. If the outfield shifts and the hitter hits the ball right into the shift, the pitcher did his job.
Frenchy got his 1,000 hit
It was a home run in Detroit, and I asked him whether there was a moment when he thought, “Damn. I might not get that ball back.” It turns out that in exchange for the ball, Frenchy gave a signed bat up to the fan who caught the ball. So, no, he wasn’t worried. “If you’re going to get a thousandth hit, why not make it a homer?” Frenchy told me.
As I’ve noted before, Frenchy is a bit of an optimist.
That stolen base
Francoeur attempted a steal of third (was it in Toronto?) that set off a debate here on the website about Frenchy and the stolen base. I asked Doug Sisson about that play, and he knew exactly what I was talking about. Doug said the numbers were in favor of going (how long the pitcher takes to throw the ball to the plate). It was the right time in the game, and Jeff got a good jump.
What Frenchy didn’t do was get a good lead, not so much in distance, but in motion. Doug said that a runner on second should get a walking lead if he is going to steal. If the pitcher makes him stop, no steal. If the pitcher neglects to do that, take off. Frenchy took off from a dead stop, and that was the difference.
Doug noted that Jeff had been overly aggressive lately and did early, early work with him on the road to clean up the situation.
Esky going other way
I was correct. Alcides Escobar is not hitting the ball the other way as much as he was when he got hot at the plate. (Hey, I got one right!) Hitting coach Kevin Seitzer said Esky got frustrated because he was trying to go the other way with the wrong pitches. (Whatever you’re trying to do at the plate, ya gotta get the right pitch to do it with.)
That led to poor results, and Alcides went back to hacking. Now Kevin’s got to get him back to where he was: staying on top of the middle away pitch and driving it to the opposite field.
On the road again
When the team is one the road, my job gets a lot tougher. When watching the game on TV, I can’t see everything I would like, and there are plays where I’m kinda guessing at what is going on. Doug Sisson has been a big supporter of this website, and he has taken an even bigger step in helping me out.
Doug has agreed to let me email questions to him when the team is on the road. When he gets a chance, he will shoot me an answer.
Now that’s taking one for the team.