Games » Chicago White SoxAug19
Guthrie’s great start
The Kansas City Star
Where do you start? Jeremy Guthrie taking a no-hitter into the eighth? The scorekeeping decision that ended his no-hit bid? The standing ovation Guthrie got afterward? The ball that went between Eric Hosmer’s legs that tied the game? The comeback the Royals staged in the next half-inning? The Royals sweeping the first-place White Sox? This game had so many plot lines it made an episode of “Lost” look comprehensible.
• Guthrie continued to make the Cabrera-for-Sanchez-for-Guthrie deal look good. Since he’s been here in KC, Guthrie has been working with pitching coach Dave Eiland on some adjustments, and they seem to be working. Guthrie has added a bit more inward turn in his windup (front knee going up and back), which can hide the ball longer and make sure Jeremy gets his weight back before delivering the ball to home plate.
• That inward turn also can take a little longer to unfold, so Jeremy has to use other tricks to freeze the base-runners. One of the best tricks is not having base-runners. When Guthrie finally gave up a run Sunday, it ended a streak of 22 consecutive scoreless innings.
• When a pitcher has a no-hitter going, the baseball traditions kick in. You don’t mention it. You don’t talk to the pitcher. One of the biggest traditions is that the first hit should be a clean one. Jeremy lost his no-hitter when Alcides Escobar went back on the grass and threw a one-hopper to Eric Hosmer. The throw beat the runner, Paul Konerko, but the ball didn’t stick in Eric’s mitt. Let’s just say a number of Royals were disappointed that the ruling was a base hit and not an E-3.
• After the crowd booed the ruling, they gave Guthrie a standing ovation. He didn’t appear to notice or let the ruling affect him. He just threw the next pitch.
• Guthrie came back out for the eighth, got two quick outs and then gave up back-to-back singles. Chicago’s Dayan Viciedo hit a clean single up the middle on the ninth pitch of the at-bat. The Royals were only up by two runs at that point, and suddenly the tying run was at the plate.
• The last time a Royals pitcher took a no-hit bid past the fifth inning, manager Ned Yost told me he didn’t want a guy throwing a no-hitter to look down and see the bullpen busy. Why put that thought in a pitcher’s head? Guthrie was still pitching great and just approaching 100 pitches, but when the next batter, Ray Olmedo, swung at the first pitch and singled, the winning run was at the plate, just like that.
• I didn’t think Ned would let Guthrie face the winning run and risk taking a loss, and he didn’t. Catcher Salvador Perez came out to stall, and when the umpire broke that up, Ned came out to make the change.
• With a two-run lead, runners on first and second, two outs and the left-handed Dewayne Wise at the plate, Ned brought in Tim Collins. After the game, I asked Tim whether he had adequate time to warm up and he said yes, it only take a few throws for him to get ready. Wise hit a shot at Hosmer, Eric came up, and the ball didn’t. E-3 all the way. The ball went down in the right-field corner, and the one thing that shouldn’t have happened — extra bases — did, and the game was tied.
• OK. Here’s the short version of what happened next. Butler walked, Dyson pinch-ran, stole second, and scored on a Perez single. Salvy advanced on the throw home. Mike Moustakas was trying to pull the ball to the right side to advance Perez to third, and Jesse Crain, the White Sox pitcher, was pitching him away to prevent that. Crain walked Moose, struck out Jeff Francoeur, and the lefty Donnie Veal came in to face Hosmer.
Veal walked Hosmer, and Nate Jones replaced Veal in order to face Johnny Giavotella. Gio hit what should have been a double-play ball to third. Ray Olmedo threw home to catcher A.J. Pierzynski for the first out, and A.J. threw the ball to hell and gone … and there, pretty much was your ballgame.
A couple other things
• In the first inning, third-base coach Eddie Rodriguez got Mike Moustakas thrown out at the plate, but it was more a great play by Chicago’s Gordon Beckham than a bad decision by Eddie. The ball that Eric Hosmer hit went through up the middle but didn’t have a lot of steam on it. Beckham got to it and threw Moose out at home from the center-field grass.
• Giavotella made a mental mistake in the third. He led off the inning by hitting the ball down the left-field line, which is usually a double, but the left fielder, Dayan Viciedo, got there quickly, and Johnny was thrown out easily at second. With no outs, the rule is no risks. Don’t advance unless you’re sure.
• With two outs and the count 3-0, Adam Dunn got the green light. With two down, a walk to Dunn would have meant the Sox probably would need at least two more hits to score him. Manger Robin Ventura figured Dunn was already in scoring position and let him take a shot at the cheap seats. Guthrie pitched him up in the zone and got a pop-up.
• Alcides Escobar go his 10th base-hit bunt of the season. I don’t know what his average is when he bunts, but I suppose someone must keep that stat somewhere. If someone doesn’t come up with an answer before the Royals return to Kansas City, I’ll try to ask hitting coach Kevin Seitzer when the team gets back in town.
• Mike Moustakas is hitting the ball again, so I asked what changed. Moose said he’s just being more selective, waiting for a pitch he can handle.
• Salvador Perez kept a run off the board when he blocked Greg Holland’s first pitch with a runner on third.
A big jump
I asked Johnny Giavotella what the biggest difference is between the pitching he faced in Triple A and the pitching in the big leagues. He summed it up in one word: control. In Triple A, a 2-0 count often gets you a “cookie” (a fastball down the middle). In the big leagues, they might throw any pitch in any count. In Triple A, pitchers often make a couple of mistakes per at-bat. In the big leagues, you might get one.
Johnny also said the overall game is faster. That may have played a part in him getting thrown out at second in this game … I don’t know, I didn’t get to talk to him afterward. But players will tell you everything happens faster at the big-league level.