Games » Arizona DiamondbacksMay18
What went wrong
The Kansas City Star
Luis Mendoza gave up one hit through five innings. Unfortunately, Luis walked a guy in front of that one hit and that walk scored.
In the sixth inning, Luis began to elevate pitches (which often happens when a pitcher gets gassed) and in the space of four pitches gave up three hits. When a pitcher loses it that fast after pitching well, it’s sometimes hard to get a reliever up and ready as fast as you’d like.
Pitching coach Dave Eiland visited the mound — which slowed things down — but before the inning was over, the Diamondbacks tied the score 4-4.
Reliever Kelvin Herrera had a good inning in the seventh, came out for the eighth, gave up a hit off the end of the bat and another on a bat he shattered. The Diamondbacks had two on, and Ned Yost brought in Tim Collins to face left-handed hitter, Miguel Montero. Collins missed with two curves, had to throw a fastball to get a strike, threw another, missed his spot and Montero doubled. The Diamondbacks were up 6-4 and that’s the way the score stayed.
After the game, Ned Yost didn’t make any excuses, saying the Royals have to pitch better and hit better. Good teams cover for each other: when the pitching scuffles the offense covers it. That didn’t happen Friday night.
Should Eric Hosmer be sent to the minor leagues? Before you answer that question, think back — there were people saying that Mike Moustakas should be sent back to the minors last season. Mike is hitting .293, has five home runs, is playing great defense and looks like a candidate for the All-Star game.
Think a little further back and there were people saying Ned Yost should be pinch-hitting for Alcides Escobar. What’s Esky doing these days? He’s hitting .300 and playing great defense.
I asked Ned Yost if Hosmer fit in the same category: a young player you stick with because you know how good the payoff can be. Ned said absolutely and suggested I add J.J. Hardy, Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder to the list. Yost got criticized for sticking with them when they were struggling. In each case, Ned thought they needed to play in order to develop.
Few players arrive in the big leagues and never hit a rough patch. Giving up on a young, talented player because you don’t have the patience to let him adjust to the level of play required is self-destructive.
In Ned Yost’s opinion, patience is not only a virtue, it’s a necessity.
The stolen base
There’s a good chance Jeff Francoeur will not steal 22 bases in 2012. As we’ve been talking about since spring training, pitchers across the league have dropped their delivery time to home plate. Guys who were 1.5 to home plate (a time you can steal on) are down to 1.3 (a time few guys can steal on). That’s part of what happened early in the season: pitchers adjusted to the base runners and some of the Royals base runners didn’t adjust back. Doug Sisson told me the true base stealers will still get their bags, but the other guys will be putting up single digits.
That means the Royals will continue to look for ways to advance 90 feet: balls in the dirt, going first to third, second to home. (We did a couple more videos with Doug on leads at second and third, which we’ll post soon. Don’t miss them, they’re informative.)
What day is it?
Ballplayers often ask that question. The 162-game grind becomes a blur and they lose track of time. One thing they do know: if it’s a day game it’s Sunday — maybe.
Thursday was school day at the K and the Royals had a rare mid-week 1:10 start. Which bring us to Humberto Quintero. In Thursday’s game Humberto was on first base, the hitter lined out and the infielder that caught the ball tried to double off the Royals catcher. Humberto was going back into the bag and the throw hit him in the head, specifically, the left ear.
Quintero still had enough of his wits about him to run to second base, but immediately doubled over in pain. A Royals trainer and Ned Yost came out to check on him and the trainer asked Humberto what day it was. He immediately answered, “Thursday.”
Luckily, the trainer didn’t ask Ned, because the Royals manager realized he didn’t know what day it was.
Can the trainer take a manager out of the game?