Games » Cleveland IndiansMay11
I’m no expert, but I’m willing to go out on a limb here and suggest things would be going a bit better if the Royals threw more strikes. The Royals gave up six more walks in this game and three more of them scored. At last count, they had given up 47 walks that scored.
That stat’s bad enough, but don’t forget the walks that extended innings, moved other runners into scoring position, piled up pitch counts and allowed .206 hitters to help their team without swinging the bat.
I’ll go even further out on the limb by saying, until they fix this problem, nothing else matters.
Kendall’s outstanding play…
Once again, Jason Kendall stopped a ball in the dirt with a runner on third. That’s pretty much like hitting a home run. You can put runs on the board or keep them off, they all count the same and Kendall’s been outstanding at keeping them off. I don’t think he’s had a passed ball yet, and God takes more days off.
Friday night, Zack Greinke had two strikes on Vladimir Guerrero when pitching coach Bob McClure came to the mound. (It’s a special hitter when you get him 0-2 and need a meeting about what to do next.)
Apparently, McClure suggested that Zack might try bouncing a change-up out in front of the plate and count on Kendall to block it. There was a runner in scoring position at the time, so this took some guts…and confidence in Kendall.
The move worked, Guerrero swung and struck out, but without Kendall behind the plate it wouldn’t have been possible…and that deserves to be recognized.
Keith Hernandez once said he felt like he was in trouble anytime he wasn’t moving forward to field a grounder. (Frankly, I’ve found I can get myself in trouble on grounders no matter which way I’m moving.)
Moving forward brings the weight onto the balls of your feet and puts you in good fielding position. Moving backwards, as Alberto was, puts you on your heels. To compound his problem he played the ball off to the side, so when he missed it, his body didn’t knock it down and keep the ball in front of him.
Gee, thanks…I think…
In the 9th inning Pena, Bloomquist and Getz all got pinch hit opportunities. Unfortunately for them, they were against Hector Ambriz, who was throwing 96 with flames coming off the ball. Bloomquist and Pena struck out. When you’re on the bench, you appreciate the chance to get in the game, but you appreciate some chances more than others.
Double play balls…
When we set up this system we talked to Ron Polk and discussed additions to the categories he was already using. One new stat we considered was negative points for hitting into double plays. He disagreed, saying that he encouraged his hitters to strive for line drives and hard grounders. Like most coaches he wants to keep the ball out of the air. (Manny Mota supposedly once said, “Hit the ball in their air: three guys say I got it. Hit the ball on the ground: nobody say @#$%&*!”)
Coach Polk didn’t want to penalize a player for taking the right approach, even if it worked out poorly…so Billy, you’re safe.
Hot streaks start slumps…
At least one major league hitting coach has told me this theory is a load, but here it is anyway: The hot hitter feels so good he begins to expand his zone. He feels like he can hit anything and for a short while he does.
But if he keeps expanding his zone, eventually he’s chasing pitches he can’t hit, the hot streak ends and the slump begins.
(The fact that Jose Guillen is 6 for his last 40-something, never entered my mind when I decided to write this.)