Games » Colorado RockiesMay22
There’s a saying in baseball: “The more you learn, the less you know”. I’ve learned a lot, so I guess I don’t know every much. I “think” a whole bunch of things, but if anyone who knows more thinks differently, I’ve got no argument.
(OK, enough waffling. I’m just trying to make sure everybody knows these are only opinions and they’re subject to change upon receiving more information … or Kyle Farnsworth threatens to kick my butt.)
I think Jason Kendall is a big improvement behind the plate. He’s done more blocking than the Great Wall of China. The Royals have won three games by one run in which he blocked pitches with a runner on third. Without those blocks: tie games, extra innings
I think the outfield defense, whether Maier or Ankiel is in center, is much better. Maier appears to be a real ‘tryer’. He tries to get the most out of what he has. Ankiel has great range and a great arm, but also has a lot of strikeouts and weak at-bats, mixed in with balls he’s crushed. It will be interesting to see what direction the Royals go in centerfield when he’s healthy again.
Podsednik appears to be one of those scrappy table-setter guys (is there any point in washing his uniform?). I think DeJesus will put up DeJesus type numbers when it’s all said and done.
Unfortunately, I also think the Royals have three natural-born DHs on the club. Callaspo, who’s defensive problems are better hidden at third than up the middle, Butler who absolutely rakes, but at times looks like an elephant on ice skates and Guillen, who shouldn’t be allowed on the outfield grass unless he’s pushing a lawn mower. Although I’d be willing to change these opinions if any of them get me cornered.
I think Betancourt is inconsistent, both at the plate and on the field. He can make difficult plays and screw up routine ones. I think Aviles needs to be in the lineup somewhere, which may push Getz to the bench.
I think, overall, the Royals hitters have had too many bad situational at-bats. Too often they appear to suffer from poor pitch selection in those situations.
Finally: pitching. It appears that the Royals need to throw a lot more strikes a lot earlier in the count. Sooner or later a pitcher has to throw strikes. He can do it after he walks two guys or after he falls behind or after he loses his job in the big leagues and comes out to play with me in the amateur leagues. Until they fix this: nothing else matters.
I could be wrong, but after watching every pitch of every game, this is what I think … unless Kyle Farnsworth disagrees.
No, despite what it sounds like, it’s not what happens right after you get up in the morning. Left-handed pitchers moves to first can be so difficult to read, teams resort to “first movement.” Basically, a gamble: the runner takes off on the first move the pitcher makes.
If the pitcher goes home, the runner will most likely be safe. If the pitcher throws to first, the runner’s dead. No way of knowing for sure, but both DeJesus and Bloomquist looked like they were going on first movement. This system deducts points for getting picked off, but not for caught stealing.
A judgment call (and who’s better qualified?), but no minus points for DeJesus or Bloomquist. Getting picked off is not paying attention, being caught on first movement is a strategy gamble you lost.
So stuff it, MLB.com stats.
The 3:10 start
In the bottom of the seventh you could see the shadows start to move between the pitcher and the hitters. Imagine trying to hit a 90 mph fastball. Now imagine trying to hit it while using a strobe light.
When the ball goes in and out of shadow, it’s a definite advantage for the pitcher. You’ll see teams try to speed up the game as the shadows approach home. When the lighting gets bad, they know the chances of scoring go down.
Once the pitcher is also in the shadow, it’s still hard to see if the background is in sunlight. The pitcher becomes a silhouette and so does the ball. If you’re one of those hitters that look for spin, you can’t see it until it’s too late.
Spin? Hell, if the ball gets in the same line of sight as the pitcher, both are in shadow and you can lose the ball entirely. Scarier than a Sarah Palin presidential campaign. Knowing a sphere is sizzling towards you at 90+, but not knowing exactly where it is, can lead to some pretty bad looking emergency hacks.