Games » Texas RangersMay6
Man, filling out my 1,100 box grid after a game like this is mind-boggling. Everyone had points, lots of them. I’m pretty sure I had two hits and scored three times. I think a hot dog vendor got on the field and racked up some points. My son just got home from college, and to celebrate, I gave him some points for a sacrifice fly and heads-up baserunning. Who’d notice?
As a manager, when you lose a game like this, you look for plays where you could’ve changed the outcome. This system finds them for you: three more walks that scored. You don’t control Soria giving up home runs; you DO control walks and errors. Throw strikes and the odds say at least two of the walks that scored never get on base…and there’s your ballgame.
I didn’t give a mental error, because it was more physical, but Mike Aviles needed to get in front of Jason Kendall’s throw down to second on a stolen-base attempt. (Of course, if part of MY job was allowing me to get hit by fast-moving objects, I’d soon be out of work.) Aviles played it off to the side, the throw got through and the runner made it to third. As it turned out, the runner would’ve scored anyway, but good teams fight for every base offensively and defensively.
In Chicago, Chris Getz dived over a sliding runner to keep the ball on the infield. On another ball, tailing into the runner, Alberto Callaspo proved less athletic, the ball got through and the run scored. This small stuff is important. The Royals won’t often overwhelm other teams with their talent. They need to do the little things right.
I almost scored a mental error for Aviles loafing coming into third on Kendall’s double in the sixth, but luckily, replays showed Dave Owen semi-holding him up and then sending him home. I couldn’t tell from the TV angle, but I’m wondering if Owen is getting far enough down the line. That delays the moment of decision and makes it easier to get it right.
Hitting is hard…
Hitting is hard. Let me repeat that: Hitting is hard. One more time: Hitting is hard. Now in all caps: HITTING IS HARD! How about a foreign language? Ittinghay is ardhay. My point?
Hitting is hard and, at times, the Royals pitchers seem to have forgotten that.
I believe one of the reasons that the National League is known as more of a fastball league than the American is that pitchers have to hit. They’re reminded with every at-bat that hitting is hard.
Ask a hitter if he’s ever gotten a fastball right down the middle and NOT gotten a hit. Once he gets over being disgusted by the stupidity of the question, he’ll say, yeah, it’s easy to miss the center of the ball. It’s two round objects moving very fast, and being 1/8th of an inch off means failure.
And even when you do square one up, someone can catch it.
Hitting is hard.
My friend Jerry Dipoto was in Cleveland’s bullpen when they decided to try getting this message through to him by sending some Hall-of-Famer type like Johnny Podres or Christy Matthewson or Cy Young to talk to him…OK, let’s say it was Johnny Podres, because I really can’t remember, other than it was some famous old pitcher.
He tells Jerry he wants to watch some BP with him. Jerry is impatiently waiting for the pitching lesson to begin. The old-timer is just watching a round of BP quietly. No advice, no words of wisdom, no lecture.
Finally, as batting practice ends, the old guy asks, “Now, son, we just watched a coach in his fifties throw 75-mile-an-hour fastball after 75-mile-an-hour fastball right down the middle to the best hitters in the world…how many absolutely-for-sure-no-doubt-100%-guaranteed base hits did you see?”
Jerry thought about it and said, “What’s your point, pops?”
Hitting is hard.