Games » Houston AstrosJun16
Two more walks scored in this game, so of course, the Royals lost by two runs: It’s a rule. (I don’t know how many times I’ve written something like that, but even if it’s not making an impression on you, it’s making one on me.) If you don’t give away bases or runs, you have a chance. Hand out freebies to the other team, and the odds of winning go down dramatically.
Bruce Chen gave up two leadoff walks and both came around to score. Leadoff walks are more damaging than walks later in the inning (and Ron Polk’s system reflects this) because the opposition still has all three outs available to move the walk around the bases.
Chen was, once again, decent, but when he loses it, he loses it quickly (usually somewhere around the sixth). This could reflect a couple of things: He hasn’t built up the stamina necessary to go further and/or his stuff doesn’t give him much margin for error. If a pitcher tops out at 92, the loss of three miles an hour is dramatic.
Or it could be something else entirely, I’m just guessing…but they’re pretty good guesses.
Even though Scott Podsednik was coming forward to field Carlos Lee’s single, the Astros didn’t hesitate to send Jeff Keppinger home from second. Teams are challenging Scott’s arm and aren’t paying a price for doing so. You can look for that to continue.
Scott hit a ball down into the right-field corner and used his speed to turn it into a triple. As I’ve mentioned earlier, triples are almost always to right because of the long throw to third. The rounded corners at the K add to the chances of three bases. Outfielders often have to wait at the bullpen gate for the ball to come out of the curve, and a fast baserunner can take advantage of that.
Let’s see…Podsednik’s throwing is below average and Ankiel’s still coming back from his quad injury…do they do arm transplants?
You’ve got to know who’s running…
In the first inning, Jose Guillen hit the ball to shortstop Tommy Manzella. Manzella bobbled the ball and gave up on the play, but so had Jose. He was taking his time getting down to first, and Manzella still had a play.
I’m developing a theory that Guillen runs hard when he thinks he needs to (he doesn’t dog it all the time), but has the bad habit of deciding what he thinks will happen and then giving effort according to that judgment. It’s a much better policy to play hard and THEN see what happens. Especially if you’re a DH: running hard four times a night doesn’t seem like too much to ask.
There are at least three common reasons for making an error on a fly ball (trust me, with my skills I’ve had a lot of chances to think about this): taking your eye off the ball in anticipation of making a throw afterward (when someone makes an error, watch for this in the replay and you’ll be amazed at how often this happens), arriving to the right spot and slowing down on your heels instead of your toes (it makes your head bounce, which screws up your vision) and putting your glove in front of your face, which blocks your view of the ball. (If that last one seems stupid, I can tell you I’ve done it more than once…so it probably is.)
Mitch didn’t appear to do any of these, so reason four: sometimes you just miss.
Yuniesky got points for an outstanding play going to his left. He goes to his right better than his left (apparently, he takes too shallow a route at times, which is the reason you see those routine groundballs bleed through the middle), so this was a pleasant surprise.
He also let what appeared to be a routine groundball go under his glove (he slipped on the way, but still looked close enough to knock it down) for a two-RBI hit. No error, but not a great effort.
No hits for Jason, but he demonstrated why people who pay attention love his game. He hit a sacrifice fly to drive in a run, moved a runner over with a groundball and had a walk. With four trips to the plate, he did something productive in three of them.