Games » Minnesota TwinsSep2
The Royals avoid a sweep
The Kansas City Star
After the game, manager Ned Yost said he pulled Mendoza after five innings because Luis was starting to labor. Asked to define “labor,” Ned said that when Luis is pitching well, he is ahead in the count and down in the zone. When Luis is laboring, he is behind in the count and up in the zone. Mendoza got through five innings with a lead, and Yost said his plan was to mix and match the rest of the way.
Collins gave up the lead, but the offense came right back, scored two more runs and made Ned’s mix-and-match plan work out.
• Minnesota’s Joe Mauer doubled in the first inning. Mauer seems to stay balanced and controlled as well as any hitter the Royals face. He doesn’t try to extend or distort his swing to reach borderline balls.
• Recently hitting coach Kevin Seitzer talked about the Royals’ young hitters and how they have to learn the same thing: Do not reach for a bad pitch. (We’ve got a video of this conversation on the way.)
• Mendoza gave up a home run to Chris Parmelee on a fastball down and slightly away. The problem may have been when the pitch was thrown more than where. Parmelee got a fastball in a 3-1 fastball count and was able to drive it over the fence.
• In the second inning with the bases loaded and nobody out, Eric Hosmer did a good job of getting a pitch he could hit in the air for a sac fly. Ballplayers call that a “professional” at-bat. The hitter knows what he needs to do and gets it done.
• Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain stole third and second, and after the game, I asked Moose how that happened. Mike told me that he looked around, saw that no Twin was holding him, so he got a good jump off the pitcher, Esmerling Vasquez.
• The double steal meant that Tony Abreu’s two-strike single was worth two runs instead of one. Yost was asked what constitutes a clutch hitter, and he said it is a guy who can take every at-bat the same way. Some people think you rise to the occasion. Most good hitters think you ignore the occasion and do what you’ve always done.
• In the fourth inning, Mendoza had Minnesota’s Justin Morneau 3-1 — another fastball count. This time, Luis threw a 79-mph slider and let a hitter who was sitting dead red pull the ball into the crowd. Every hitter is watching — at least the smart ones are — and throwing something other than a fastball in a fastball count creates doubt in the hitters’ minds.
• If the hitters aren’t sure, now you can throw fastballs in fastball counts and have a better chance of getting away with it.
• Both teams tried to bunt a runner to third, and both bunters got the ball too close to the mound. The pitchers were able to field the bunts and throw out the lead runner. Chris Getz was right. I now believe those bunts need to go to the right side and take the pitcher away from third base.
• There are times Royals third-base coach Eddie Rodriguez will get conservative about sending a runner home, but I’ve noticed it often is with runners like Billy Butler or Salvador Perez. Lately I’ve seen Eddie push it with runners like Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and David Lough.
• After the game, Lough said the foul ball that dropped behind him went into the sun at the last second, but David also said he is still learning his new stadium. When a new outfielder shows up, they take him out and hit fungos off all the surfaces he will have to deal with so he can see how the ball reacts.
• David also is still dealing with the upper deck. Minor-league parks don’t have them, and guys who are new to the big leagues have to adjust to picking the ball out of a crowd.
• Reliever Tim Collins, who has mostly pitched well, pitched himself into a jam with two down, bases loaded and Alexi Casilla at the plate. Collins got the count to 2-2. This is an “action pitch,” meaning Collins wanted to settle the matter on that count. By going to 3-2 with two out, Collins let the base-runners get a head start and turned a possible run by the man on second (Ryan Doumit) into a sure run by letting a less-than-fleet runner get started early.
• Mendoza gave up two earned runs in five innings. Francisley Bueno pitched one-and-two-thirds innings and gave up nothing. Aaron Crow struck out the one hitter he faced. Greg Holland got his 10th save in 10 tries. In fact, the one pitcher who did not have a good day was Collins. He gave back the lead, pitched one inning and gave up two runs. And guess who got the win? Always take statistics — including the ones you see on this site — with a grain of salt.
One of the arguments for keeping numbers is that your memory can play tricks on you. If someone does something really good or really bad, it will stand out more than it should and lead you to false conclusions. Here are Luke Hochevar’s 2012 starts, grouped roughly by results:
1.) Cleveland / 4.0 innings / 7 earned runs
2.) Detroit / 4.0 innings / 9 earned runs
3.) New York / 2.1 innings / 7 earned runs
4.) Oakland / 4.2 innings / 6 earned runs
5.) Minnesota / 6.0 innings / 5 earned runs
6.) Los Angeles / 3.0 innings / 6 earned runs
7.) Baltimore / 5.1 innings / 7 earned runs
8.) Minnesota / 1.2 innings / 8 earned runs
1.) Baltimore / 6.0 innings / 4 earned runs
2.) Pittsburgh / 6.0 innings / 4 earned runs
3.) Chicago / 5.0 innings / 3 earned runs
1.) Los Angeles / 6.1 innings / 2 earned runs
2.) Toronto / 5.0 innings / 1 earned run
3.) Cleveland / 6.1 innings / 2 earned runs
4.) Chicago / 7.0 innings / 0 earned runs
5.) New York / 6.2 innings / 3 earned runs
6.) Baltimore / 4.2 innings /1 earned run (his pitch count got up early)
7.) Milwaukee / 7.1 innings / 3 earned runs
8.) Houston / 7.2 innings / 0 earned runs
9.) Tampa Bay / 9.0 innings / 0 earned runs
10.) Toronto / 5.0 innings / 2 earned runs
11.) Minnesota / 7.0 innings / 1 earned run
12.) Cleveland / 6.0 innings / 3 earned runs
13.) Texas / 6.0 innings / 1 earned run
14.) Oakland / 7.0 innings / 3 earned runs
15.) Tampa Bay / 8.0 innings / 0 earned runs
16.) Boston / 8.0 innings / 4 earned runs