Games » Minnesota TwinsJul22
‘The walks were the biggest mistakes’
The Kansas City Star
That was what Jeremy Guthrie had to say after the Royals lost this one 7-5. No wonder. Two of his three walks scored. Manager Ned Yost actually thought Guthrie threw pretty well. The Royals’ newest starter worked quickly and kept the ball down in the zone, getting beat, for the most part, on decent pitches.
Afterward, the players said they liked what they saw from their new teammate — mostly. Eliminate the walks, and this would be a decent outing. Let’s hope Guthrie eliminates the walks next time out.
Second inning: Jeremy Guthrie gave up a home run to Minnesota’s Ryan Doumit on a curveball away from the switch-hitter. Despite the fact that Doumit had to reach for the ball, he still pulled it into the right-field stands. Hitters say the ball carries better when it gets hot in Kauffman Stadium. It was 98 degrees when the game started, and it only got hotter.
The opposite is true in a night game. Billy Butler says it gets harder to hit a home run as the game goes on when it’s a 6:10 or 7:10 p.m. start. So home runs are easier in the later innings of a day game and the early innings of a night game.
I don’t know if this theory is true, but this game did nothing to disprove it.
Third inning: Guthrie got himself in trouble with the previously mentioned walks. He gave up a single to Jamey Carroll, struck out Denard Span then walked the next two batters to load the bases. Josh Willingham made a bad decision and swung at the first pitch after seeing two straight walks. Willingham popped the pitch up, and it looked as though Guthrie might get away with loading the bases — right up until Doumit hit a two-run single. Guthrie then fell behind to Brian Dozier and had to come into the heart of the zone when Dozier knew he would. Dozier doubled, and the Twins led 5-0.
Fourth inning: Mike Moustakas walked, Butler singled to right and Moose went first to third. The ball took the Twins’ right fielder, Ben Revere, toward the right-field line. Being a right-handed thrower, Revere had to make a pivot before letting the ball go. That delay meant the base-runners could have taken an extra base if they had paid attention to who is right- or left-handed in the outfield.
Mike’s ability to take the extra base made a difference when Lorenzo Cain hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring the Royals’ first run.
Sixth inning: Doumit homered from the other side of the plate — and the temperature was rising.
Seventh inning: Tim Collins got in trouble when he threw Span a fastball in a 2-1 fastball count. Span roped it into the right-field corner, and Carroll scored from first. Fans should pay attention to what happens in the hitters’ count: 2-0, 2-1, 3-0 and 3-1.
(After pitches are thrown, the scoreboard will have the radar-gun reading. Anything 90 mph or more is probably a fastball. There are a few guys with 90-mph sliders, but it’s rare.)
In the bottom of the inning, the Royals had two outs, Eric Hosmer was on second and Chris Getz was on first. Alcides Escobar hit a ball to the right of Twins shortstop Brian Dozier, and Dozier went to second for the force. Getz appeared to beat the ball easily but was called out by second-base umpire D.J. Rayburn. Getz argued with the umpire, and Yost came out of the dugout to do the same.
The call cost the Royals a bases-loaded at-bat with their No. 3 hitter, Mike Moustakas, at the plate. In a game decided by two runs, that was a pivotal call.
Eighth inning: Moustakas led off with a double, and Butler homered. The theory that the ball flies in Kauffman when it’s hot just got more evidence.
Ninth inning: Alcides Escobar was ejected between the top and bottom of the inning. Escobar lost a hit on the call in the seventh and said something about it to Rayburn. Yost came out to argue, and Rayburn also ejected the Royals manager. Then the Royals manager did his best to eject Rayburn, imitating the umpire’s “you’re out of here” motion.
Yuniesky Betancourt hit another homer in the afternoon heat, and the Royals wound up losing 7-5.
The addition of Jeremy Guthrie from the Colorado Rockies reminds me of a conversation I once had with Clint Hurdle, the Pirates manager who once managed the Rockies. I asked Clint how a pitcher was supposed to pitch in Denver’s hitter-friendly Coors Field.
“The same way you pitch every place else,” he said. “We know you’re going to give up home runs, just don’t walk two people first.”
That’s pretty decent advice no matter what mound you’re on. Hurdle went on to say that pitchers needed to adjust their ERA expectations. Pitchers who can’t do that struggle mentally.
Sliders in the dirt
I finally got to talk Royals reliever Greg Holland and, sure enough, he bounced those pitches intentionally the other night with the game on the line and a runner on third. Holland said he just makes sure the slider is in the middle of the plate and down. Catcher Salvador Perez is wide enough that the bounced sliders will be blocked by Perez and hitters with two strikes have to react to a pitch that appears to be headed for the middle of the plate.
The unwritten rules — until now
When you visit a major-league clubhouse or sit in the dugout or step on the field, there are a whole bunch of rules you’re supposed to follow, and they don’t tell you any of them. It’s a baseball tradition to let you do something dumb and then point it out.
So just in case you ever get the opportunity to step into their world, here are a few of the rules that professional ballplayers will expect you to follow:
1.) Never touch their stuff.
2.) Do not watch the TVs in the clubhouse. You can glance at them, but if you look as though you’re killing time, someone might ask if you have a home. If you do, it might be suggested that you go there and watch your own TV. This is their home.
3.) Don’t sit down without an invitation, for the same reasoning as Rule Two.
4.) Have a reason to be in the clubhouse. If you’re waiting on someone, fine. If you’re just hanging out, do it somewhere else.
5.) When you’re on the field, do not stand on the grass unless you’re talking to a player. The grass is for them, mortals stand on dirt.
6.) Do not venture beyond first or third base, even if you’re in foul territory. If a player doesn’t feel like talking, he will go beyond the bases and avoid the media. This rule also keeps dim-witted media members from getting smoked by foul balls in BP.
7.) During BP, face the field at all times. A hitter can drill a baseball off the pitching screen, and balls will come whistling into the dugout at some interesting angles.
8.) After the game, don’t ask questions before the rest of the media is ready. This prevents a player from having to answer the same question numerous times.
9.) After the game, don’t ask questions until the player is ready. Most ballplayers prefer to be interviewed with their pants on.
So far I’ve broken every rule on this list with the exception of Rule One. I’m sure there are more rules and I’m sure they’ll let me know what they are—just as soon as I break one.
West Coast games
The Royals play in Los Angeles and Seattle this week. With the exception of the Thursday game, the start times are around 9 p.m. I’ll go as late as I can, but game notes may not make it up on the website until the next morning. Be patient.