Games » Toronto Blue JaysJul3
The big inning
The Kansas City Star
The big inning must be important, they started the Bible with it … you know, “In the big inning.” I once read that in the majority of all ball games, the winning team will score more runs in one inning than the losing team does in nine. I don’t know if it’s true in the majority of all ball games, but it sure was in this one.
Third inning: Once again, Jason Borgeois shows why he was called up for this stretch of games: He hits lefties well. Jeff Francoeur starts the inning with a single to left, Salvador Perez follows with another single and Bourgeois triples to drive in two runs.
Alex Gordon follows with what is known as “professional” hitter’s plate appearance, sending a sacrifice fly ball to center field and scoring Bourgeois.
In the bottom of the inning, Perez shows — once again — why he’s special. Toronto’s Rajai Davis attempts to steal second on a breaking ball. That’s good for the runner — breaking pitches take more time to get to the plate — and bad for a catcher for the same reason.
Perez goes to one knee as he catches the pitch and throws Davis out from there. On average, major-league catchers take 2.0 seconds to deliver the ball to second on a stolen base. Salvador can do it in 1.8 seconds, and that means a pitcher can take an extra 0.2 seconds to deliver the ball to home plate and know Perez will take care of the rest.
Fourth inning: Perez blocks a pitch to keep a Toronto runner from scoring from third base, and Eric Hosmer makes a short-hop pick to keep the ball on the infield and prevent another runner from scoring from second base, but the inning still comes apart at the seams.
Royals starter Vinnie Mazzaro got ground ball after ground ball — which is probably at least part of why manager Ned Yost didn’t pull him sooner. Mazzaro was doing his job. Fans will focus on the results (Mazzaro was giving up hits), managers will focus on the effort (Mazzaro was getting ground balls). Mazzaro wasn’t pitching as badly as the results indicated until he hung a slider in Adam Lind’s “nitro zone” that resulted in a three-run home run and all the runs the Blue Jays would need to win the game.
(Mazzaro was optioned out after the game. He wasn’t scheduled to pitch again before the All-Star break, so this allows the Royals to add another fresh arm to the roster.)
A couple more things
The Blue Jays bunted for a couple of hits. This is difficult because synthetic turf is fast, and the ball doesn’t slow down. For the same reason, infielders tend to play deeper — which makes bunting profitable. Watch for this positioning to affect the next two games.
Jeff Francoeur airmailed a throw home. Frenchy overthrew the catcher, and Mazzaro corralled the ball. Outfield throws are supposed to be made on one hop. When you see a throw go over the target on the fly, you’ve seen a mistake.
In the eighth inning, Jarrod Dyson doubled and then stole third. There was no throw, and the third baseman didn’t cover the bag. I’ve seen this scored as “defensive indifference” even though the game was still close enough that the Blue Jays probably were not indifferent to Dyson being on third base.
If so, why didn’t the third baseman cover the bag? Probably because the pitch was a fastball away to Eric Hosmer. The Royals first baseman is not reluctant to hit to the opposite field, so the Jays probably did not want their third baseman opening up a hole on the left side of the infield by covering the bag.
A history review
Anyone can say anything they want to on the Internet (pretty much), and if someone doesn’t take the time to correct misinformation, a third party might believe what he has read. That leads me to Bob Dutton’s recent article in The Star that reviewed how Kansas City was awarded the 2012 All-Star Game. A few pertinent facts from Dutton’s story:
• On March 22, 2006, baseball commissioner Bud Selig pledged that if Jackson County voters approved an upcoming $425 million funding referendum to upgrade Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums, Kansas City would play host to an All-Star Game between 2010 and 2014.
• Voters approved that measure, but turned down another proposal — which the Chiefs wanted — to build a rolling roof for the two stadiums by generating $170 million through user fees.
• The Jackson County referendum proposed a three-eighths-cent sales tax to pay for the renovations. This money did not go to Royals owner David Glass to be used on payroll — as has been suggested by commenters on this site. The money went to renovate the ballpark, which is publicly owned.
• The measure also required both the Royals and Chiefs to sign leases to remain tenants through 2031.
So the deal was, “Upgrade the stadiums, keep the teams.” After the proposal passed, Selig began to weasel on his pledge to award an All-Star Game to Kansas City, saying on March 20, 2010, “I like your chances, and just stay tuned. How’s that?”
Selig, pressed at least in part by the media, announced on June 16, 2010, that the 2012 All-Star Game was coming to Kansas City.
As for claims that Glass pledged to spend more on the Royals payroll and didn’t follow through, in 2007 the team payroll surpassed $60 million for the first time. Starting pitcher Gil Meche was signed to a $55 million contract, and reliever Octavio Dotel signed for $5 million. (Hey, Glass spent money. Nobody said he spent it wisely.)
My impression — from comments both on and off the record — is that things improved quite a bit after general manager Dayton Moore’s arrival. Positions that had gone unfilled in the organization were filled, and offers to drafted players increased. The talent pipeline in the minor leagues began to fill, and we’re now seeing the results.
I’ve also been told that the Glass family originally tried to run things on the cheap, and when that didn’t work, began to spend more money. Alex Gordon, Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez have all recently signed long-term contracts. In the past, the Royals developed these kinds of players for other teams.
As I’ve pointed out many times, I don’t particularly like to get into these issues. I prefer to talk about baseball games and keep my focus on the field. There are plenty of other websites that deal with these concerns, but I don’t like this site being used to spread misinformation, either.
The Royals certainly aren’t a perfect organization, but I believe things are getting better.