Games » Cleveland IndiansMay19
A win like this today, can win you another game tomorrow. The next time the Royals find themselves in a tough spot, they can remember the night they staged a five-run, ninth-inning comeback against Kerry Wood and the Indians.
Wood’s most memorable toss was the glove he threw into the stands as he left the field.
Way too many pitches…
If you ever get tired of counting sheep, try counting foul balls of Gil Meche. Ryan Lefebvre said it was 36. It seemed like 136.
Danny Jackson (the same one that pitched in the World Series for the Royals, Reds and Phillies) pitched for my team. He wanted to get outs on as few pitches as possible. He didn’t care if he struck out batters, he just wanted them out. I saw plenty of innings completed in less than 10 pitches. The defense loved him, the umpires loved him, I loved him…everybody loved him except the guys with the bats in their hands.
The way he pitched showed me how it ought to be done. Ideally, pitchers want to end at-bats in 3 pitches or less. They shouldn’t avoid contact or even allow contact. They should force contact: Here’s the ball, I’m going to force you to hit it, but you won’t like what happens next.
By contrast, here’s what the Royals pitchers did: By my count (and I could be wrong, because for a few innings I was on the edge of a boredom coma) ten Cleveland batters went to a 3-2 count and 23 batters saw five or more pitches. The Royals gave up seven walks, hit two batters, threw one wild pitch and made two errors. That’s an awful lot of free bases in a close ballgame.
The pitchers dug their own grave and in the ninth inning, the hitters pulled them out of it.
The math one more time…
15 pitches an inning is about average. That gets a starter through 7 innings (7x 15=105), eight if the manager lets him throw 120. That gets the team to the back of the bullpen (Soria and whoever the setup man du jour is). When a starter throws 122 through 5 innings, like Meche did, the team gets into the bullpen way too early.
If the Royals require four innings of shutout ball from their bullpen, it’s going to be a rough ride. You can count on it.
Where triples go to live…
The big hit was Aviles’ triple to right, it set up the rest of the five-run ninth. Point of interest: most triples are to right field. It’s because of the long throw to third. So next time a fast guy puts one down in the right-field corner, pay attention, it could get interesting.
Kendall’s throws on stolen bases have been off-line a lot, mainly tailing into the runner. Aviles failed to make much of an effort to knock one down in this game. It got into center field, but the runner didn’t advance.
I’ve seen Betancourt and Callaspo do the same thing: wave at the errant throw, but do nothing to get in front of it. I have seen Getz sacrifice his body to keep one on the infield, diving over the runner in order to contain the ball.
Jason’s back there taking knocks every night for his team; it seems his infielders could return the favor a little more often.