Games » Colorado RockiesMay23
The silver lining is that the Royals, down 9-0 at one point, came back to score seven runs. That’s the sign of a team that’s still battling.
The cloud is that the Royals didn’t stop the bleeding on the defensive side of the ball, gave up two more runs and lost 11-7. That’s the sign of a team that can do well offensively and still lose.
Zack Greinke gave up seven earned runs in 3 1/3 innings. Smarter people than me will analyze that. I’d like to point out that an error on a possible double play ball probably cost two runs, and the bullpen allowed four walks, and two of those scored.
If the Royals don’t give away free bases, that’s a tie game.
Defense, kind of…
I’ve seen Yuniesky Betancourt make such good plays you want to call someone in the room to see the replay…and I’ve seen him make such bad plays you sit there stunned, trying to figure out what you just saw. Anytime you say, “I’ve never seen that before,” you’ve seen something great or awful.
In the third, with a runner on first, Betancourt gets what looks like an easy, high chopper from the Rockies catcher, Phillips. They usually measure catchers’ speed with a sundial, so this looks like a possible double play ball. Somehow it goes under Betancourt’s glove, and he misses by enough that it’s scored a hit. One batter later, Giambi hits a three-run home run.
In the fourth, he gets another double play ball, starts to underhand it to Chris Getz and somehow (I’ve watched the replay six times and still can’t figure it out) lets the ball slowly roll off his fingertips. It looked like he had every intention of turning a double play and suddenly lost the will to live.
Getz stretched like Mr. Fantastic for a ball that had less momentum than the last putt in Caddyshack, but the runner beat it.
I’ve never seen that before.
John Gibbons confirmed that the two pickoffs the day before were runners going on first movement. The Royals were guessing against a tough lefty with a good move and were wrong two out of three times.
In the ninth, Eddie Rodriguez, who I overheard earlier giving a very lucid interview on coaching third (including the fact that fans with iPhones can now yell his old stats at him), sent Mitch Maier home with one out and down by four. Maybe there’s something I don’t get, but that seemed like a brain cramp. Mitch was thrown out at the plate. If you need to score four before the inning’s over, there’s no reason to take chances with Maier in that spot.
In the sixth, Alberto Callaspo left third uncovered on a Barmes double. Spilborghs, who had been on first, came around third, changed his mind, was scrambling back and might’ve been caught off the bag if Alberto were covering. Alberto appeared to be lining up to be a relay man, but was much too close to Betancourt to be of any help…unless he thought Yuniesky was going to roll it to him.
If you were lucky, or dumb enough, to be in the stadium at 10:50 AM, you would’ve seen Mike Aviles and Chris Getz working on the double play pivot at second. Coach Eddie Rodriguez and manager Ned Yost were working with them, breaking the play down into its separate parts. I assume most fans are smart enough to know these guys don’t show up at 1 for a 1:10 ballgame, but I’m not sure fans appreciate the hours of prep work that happen before the gates open.
I spent some time talking to Bob Apodaca, the Rockies’ pitching coach. I met Bob when he was Clint Hurdle’s pitching coach in the minors, and he’s always been generous with his time and knowledge. (That means he answered all my dumb questions without laughing.)
I told him about this project, and he said the Rockies keep some similar stats. One is called Team Plate Appearances. Those are trips to the plate where the hitter accomplished something positive for his team: a hit, a walk, moving the runner, a long at-bat and so on. He said they’re seeing a relationship between TPAs and winning, and that it’s unusual to have more TPAs than the opposition and lose.
Thanks, Bob, yet ANOTHER category I’ve got to fill out next season.
Interleague pain in the neck…
Never thought about it before, but Bob talked about having to prepare a detailed game plan for a team they hadn’t seen before and wouldn’t see again. Just as much work as getting ready for a division rival without the benefit of being able to use what you’ve prepared more than three times.