Games » Cincinnati RedsJun12
Most of the time when a pitcher gets hit hard, his pitches are up. This game was no exception. If the ball’s down, the hitter sees the top half and is more likely to hit the ball into the ground. When the ball’s up, the hitter sees the side and is more likely to hit into the Ohio River.
Bannister was up.
Speaking of lack of control: Royals pitchers hit batters four times last night. Jonny Gomes got it twice. None of them appeared to be intentional, but don’t be surprised if someone on the Royals wears one today. (Leftfielder Scott Podsednik is a logical candidate: you hit our leftfielder, therefore…).
The message will be: you might not have done it intentionally, but you need to be more careful. It’s the last time the Reds will play the Royals this year, so if they’re going to deliver a message, it has to be today. It might depend on whether the Reds are winning. If they are, they might not want to wake the Royals up. If the Reds are losing, they might be in the mood to get even.
I know this is starting to look like another wasted year (it’s not, this team has improved), but what if Zack Greinke were 6-3 (not a crazy number to think about) and Meche had been mediocre and gone 2-2? Do the math and you’ll see where this team would be with seven more wins and seven fewer losses.
How many teams could play 63 games, get one win out of their #1 and #2 starters and still be competitive?
Guillen’s base running
Yesterday, I dogged Jose Guillen for shutting it down early as he came into bases. In this game he did an outstanding job of running hard and breaking up a double play. It’s not the first time he’s done it, either. Apparently, he runs hard when the need is apparent, so maybe shutting it down early is more of a bad habit than a lack of effort.
Either way, it’s wrong, but if he’s going to get criticized for a poor effort, he deserves to be praised for a good one.
Podsednik’s outstanding play
Podsednik is a player with a lot of tools, but playing the wall well doesn’t appear to be one of them. The correct technique it to hustle to the wall, find it with your hand or glove and adjust from there. When Scott hits the warning track he tends to pull up and often appears unsure of where the wall is. (I’m not sure if Podsednik could’ve caught Bruce’s triple in the third inning if he’d played it better, it still would’ve been a tough catch.)
Later, Scott got points for an outstanding play on a ball hit into the corner. Podsednik was approaching the wall again and went into a slide too early. (The sliding catch is a technique that can help an outfielder avoid a collision.) Scott almost came to a dead stop, but reached out and caught the ball anyway. It wasn’t an easy play and deserves points, but it was more athletic than technically correct.
On the other hand, everything I know about playing the wall comes to me second-hand. I’ve never been fast enough to get to the wall before the ball did. The same with playing the carom, although I can tell you an awful lot about picking up a ball lying on the warning track.
Left field was the sun field early in the game, and both Gomes and Podsednik had to deal with fly balls coming out of the sun. The correct technique is to block the sun with the glove and wait for the ball to appear above it. If the ball doesn’t come out of the sun — it’s nerve-wracking to wait there blindly, hoping it does; OK, nerve-wracking for me while a major-leaguer might be totally calm — the next move is to turn sideways and try to get a new background behind the ball.
Or you could try my technique: covering your head and running away while screaming. It hasn’t been successful yet, but I’m still perfecting it.
Kendall’s outstanding plays
Jason Kendall is killing it in the outstanding defensive play category. This makes sense; the catcher handles the ball more than anybody. Having the most chances at making great plays also means you have the most chances at making errors. Kendall has seven, tied for the team lead with Yuniesky Betancourt, even though Jason handles the ball much more often.
A bad defensive catcher can’t be hidden; he touches the ball too often. Even if the bad defender is a good hitter, I think it’s extremely difficult for a catcher to hit enough to get even.
Jason now has 19 outstanding defensive plays; most of them are blocked pitches with a runner on third (two more in this game). Say he had 12 home runs at this point: everyone would be freaking out and talking about his All-Star appearance (although someone would have to kidnap Joe Mauer for him to start), but because he saves those runs with good defense, it goes largely unnoticed.
I’m doing what I can to change that.