Games » Baltimore OriolesMay18
The two home runs Zack Greinke gave up shouldn’t bother you. The solo shot Blake Wood gave up shouldn’t bother you. (You can quibble about pitch location, but if pitchers are going to throw strikes, they’re going to give up hits, and some of those hits are going to be home runs.)
The hit Bryan Bullington gave up in the 10th shouldn’t bother you…but the walk to the next batter should. That walk pushed the winning run into scoring position.
Next came a messed-up-someone-put-a-tent-over-this-circus play: Butler clanked one off his glove, recovered in time to flip to Bullington covering first…or should I say attempting to cover first, because the umpire said he didn’t have his foot on the bag.
Now the winning run was on third with one down, bases loaded. Bullington needed a groundball for a double play and Markakis needed a fly ball to the outfield to score the run from third.
Markakis won the battle and got a ball in the air. The outfield was shallow because there’s no point in catching a deep fly ball and watching the winning run tag up and score. They had to be able to throw the runner out at home from wherever they positioned themselves. The Markakis fly ball, which might’ve been playable if there were two outs and the outfield was back, fell untouched.
This is why managers go so batcrap about giving away bases. There’s so much that you can’t control in baseball, that you must control what you can. And you can control walks and errors.
The Royals got beat, not by three home runs in the first eight innings or the two hits in the 10th, but by a walk and error that advanced the runners.
In the seventh, Mitch Maier went first to third on Getz’s two-out single, even though it was being fielded in shallow center field. I don’t know if this is what he was thinking (I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt), but Callaspo was trying to score from second on the play. When another runner is trying to score, smart trailing runners will sometimes dare a fielder to throw them out by advancing right in front of them, knowing if the fielder takes the bait, the run will score.
This is especially worth it if the run is meaningful and there are two outs.
The move also allowed Podsednik to drive Maier in from third with a bunt single two pitches later.
Outstanding defensive play…
In the third inning, Getz went a long way to catch a pop-up in shallow center field on the shortstop side of second. These plays can be tricky, as Betancourt demonstrated later. To be fair, Betancourt’s pop-up was more directly over his head and those are tougher. It’s hard to find the ball (imagine running while looking straight up, waiting for the ball to become visible) until it’s too late, which is probably why he was off-line when it came down.
When a new guy comes up, one of the things you want to know is how he reacts when things don’t go well. Blake Wood has been pretty much lights-out until he gave up the game-tying home run to Patterson in the eighth.
Once a hitter goes deep, some pitchers don’t want to throw another strike and start nibbling. Wood stayed aggressive and continued to throw strikes.
The Royals struck out nine times, four looking. This can indicate deceptive movement and/or an inconsistent strike zone…or maybe a little of both.
Can we split the points?
The Royals clearly had a mental mistake in the top of the eighth. Kendall got a leadoff single, then took off for second while looking toward the plate. That would indicate hit and run. Meanwhile, DeJesus squared, but didn’t offer, which could indicate steal.
Whoever screwed up, it was costly. The Royals had two singles and a double in the inning and still didn’t score.