Games » Minnesota TwinsJun30
Another bad outing
The Kansas City Star
Twins starting pitcher Scott Diamond threw strikes, pitched ahead in the count, trusted his stuff and his defense, kept his pitch count low and won the ball game. Jonathan Sanchez did not. Sanchez walked six, gave up six runs and threw 101 pitches in 4 1/3 innings. Sanchez also made a mental mistake by failing to cover home plate.
For a guy who already has a lot of critics, this was another bad outing.
First inning: The Twins pitcher, Diamond, obviously has a reputation for throwing strikes. The Royals hitters try to “ambush” him. When a pitcher throws a lot a lot of first-pitch fastball strikes, hitters sometimes swing early in an effort to ambush him. The Royals offense has been hot lately, but the ambush doesn’t work — too many hard-hit balls right at fielders.
In the bottom half of the inning, Sanchez has Ben Revere on first base and keeps throwing over to hold Revere close. Sanchez has Revere confused — Ben is sometimes breaking back to first as the pitch is delivered to home plate — but splitting his attention costs Sanchez as he walks Josh Willingham, the first of six walks on the day.
Second inning: Twins second baseman Alexi Casilla proves that the Royals aren’t the only ones that make mental mistakes. Casilla follows up an infield hit with a prolonged bit of styling afterwards. Base runners trying to beat out an infield grounder are supposed to glance to their right as they pass first base to see if the ball has gotten away. Casilla fails to do this — too busy slowing down in an overly stylish manner — and misses the fact that the ball is bouncing around the infield. Casilla fails to advance.
Later in the inning, Sanchez is still struggling with his command and seems to lose focus on what’s happening behind him. The Twins pull the first of two double steals without a throw.
Third inning: With nobody out and Trevor Plouffe on third, Ryan Doumit hits what appears to a sacrifice fly to centerfield. Jason Bourgeois joins the outfield assist club, throwing Plouffe out at the plate. As Doug Sisson points out in our current home page video, the Royals outfielders are throwing people out on the bases because they play shallow. They’re trying to take away the cheap hits and will live with the balls hit over their heads.
Fifth inning:With runners on first and second base, Brian Dozier hits a ball off the end of the bat that first spins away from the field and then heads back toward fair territory. The ball has more English on it than an episode of Downton Abbey.
Brayan Pena comes out from behind home plate to field the ball and throws it to Eric Hosmer at first, but Jonathan Sanchez gets caught spectating and fails to cover home plate. A runner scores from second base on a ball hit halfway to first.
After 4 1/3 innings, Sanchez is lifted from the game. Just as quality starts gives fans an idea of how many times a pitcher keeps his team in a game, giving up more than four earned runs tells a fan when pitchers made it very difficult for their team to win. Sanchez has given up more than four earned runs four times — tied for first on the team with Luke Hochevar. Hochevar appears to be turning his season around — Sanchez does not.
Sixth inning: Jason Bourgeois leads off the inning with a single. Bourgeois is with the team now because he’s a lifetime .320 hitter against left-handed pitching, and the Royals are facing five left-handed starters in the first six games of this road trip. (If any of that’s incorrect, blame Ryan Lefebvre — I’m going to.)
Eighth inning: If you’re wondering why Yuniesky Betancourt is on the field when Irving Falu is available, Betancourt has been very hot at the plate in June. Yuni continues his streak, driving in his second run of the day, but it’s not enough, Royals lose 7-2.
This post is fairly short because I’m going to do another one tonight after game 2 of the double-header. I now realize I never discussed the possibility of two games in one day with the IT people who set up this site.
To create a game and then write about it, requires a long process that involves selecting dates, times, players and a voodoo ritual or two. I’ve got no idea what will happen when I post a second game with the same date, but I guess we’ll know later tonight.