Games » Cincinnati RedsJun11
You sure can tell this was a National League game. Check out how many players were used. I think the Reds mascot got a plate appearance. I’ve always enjoyed the additional strategy the National League requires. Matchups + batting order + defense = entertaining baseball.
Keeping it all straight can get confusing. My buddy, current Boston Red Sox third-base coach Tim Bogar, had a long National League career based on not playing. He was capable of filling in anywhere (he even pitched a couple times), so having Bogie on the bench was an insurance policy. No matter how he had painted himself in a corner, (mixed metaphor alert) the manager knew he had Tim there to bail him out.
As former reliever Jerry Dipoto once pointed out to me, as long as you don’t play they don’t know how good you are. You MIGHT be terrific. Step on the field and it all goes to hell. Jerry also pointed out the dangers of making too much money. If they give you a lot, they expect you to perform.
So don’t play and don’t make too much money and you can have a nice lifestyle. This must be why Bogie’s motto was, “Bench me or trade me.”
I’ve always known I didn’t have the talent to play at a high level, but now that I think about it, I can NOT play as well as anyone. Hmmm…maybe there’s hope yet.
The Royals gave up a run in the first inning when, with two outs and a runner on third, Alberto Callaspo went after Scott Rolen’s slow grounder with his bare hand and missed. Rolen can’t run and Callaspo should’ve known that. He had time to glove the ball, set his feet and throw. Being aware of who is at the plate and what that means, is part of being a good defender…lack of awareness can make you a bad one.
There’s no score on this, but once again Callaspo started to reach for a ball to his left and then pulled his glove back, content to let Betancourt attempt the play. The third baseman is supposed to take everything he can to his left: he’s moving towards first, the shortstop is moving away. The ball Callaspo made no attempt on turned into an infield single.
Jose Guillen was thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple in the second inning. He did it with one out, so at least he had that right, but he slowed up coming into first, assuming the ball was a single. When it got away from the Reds centerfielder he continued on to second, but was slowing up there also. The Reds centerfielder kicked the ball away when he slid for it and Jose headed for third, but was thrown out.
If he hadn’t slowed up twice, he would’ve been safe. The idea is to run hard through the bag, then get stopped if the defense handles the ball well. If you slow up on the way to the bag, assuming they will make the play, you’re not in a position to take advantage of any mistakes.
This was bad, lazy base running.
Heads-up base running…
In the 11th inning Brayan Pena got caught between second and third, but this was very good base running. Betancourt had singled hard to center with two down and Butler on second. If the run is important enough (and the winning run in extra innings qualifies) and you’re not sure the runner will score (it was Billy running, remember?) the idea is to break for the next base in front of the cutoff man and tempt him into cutting the ball.
The move worked, Bill scored and the Royals went on to win.
Kendall and Pena both had tough blocks and Kendall caught a very difficult pop-up with the bases loaded. Jason had to lean over a railing into a camera bay to snag the ball. Because the balls have just barely been clipped along the bottom, pop-ups tend to curve. That’s why you see kids start staggering backward at the last second: it’s not that they misjudged the ball that badly. The ball is actually moving away from them.
This was a difficult play made to look easier than it was.
Why can’t pitchers hit?
I asked Russ Morman that question once. If you look at their backgrounds a lot of these guys were all-round studs in college. When they weren’t pitching they’d play short or center and hit in the middle of the order.
Russ said they may have started equal to the other hitters, but once they got into pro ball they went to work on pitching and hitters went to work on hitting. By the time they both reach the majors the hitter has seen thousands of pitches and the pitcher hasn’t.
Practice makes perfect and lack of practice makes you a .115 hitter.