Games » Atlanta BravesJun19
Another good performance by Zack Greinke was wasted by some strange baseball. In the first inning, with Martin Prado on second, Chipper Jones hit a single to Podsednik in left. I’ve mentioned that teams are challenging Scott’s arm and the Braves proved to be no exception. Prado was sent home, Podsednik’s throw was high (his mental mistake) and that allowed Jones to continue on to second.
Next, Kendall had a passed ball, (Jones was on second and Jason looked like he was expecting something else, so the odds are that it was a cross-up). With Jones on third and two down, Troy Glaus hit a slow roller to Betancourt. (I don’t want to say Glaus is slow, but I think he’s got a job in the off-season pulling Budweiser wagons.) Nevertheless, Yuniesky rushed his throw and made an error, allowing Jones to score. If the Royals hadn’t given Chipper two bases, he wouldn’t have been in scoring position.
In the sixth inning another cheap run scored when Zack made a mistake. Heyward was at second, Jones was at first, there was one down and Glaus (again?) hit a shot to Betancourt. Yuniesky made a fabulous play (he’s like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re going to get) spearing the ball and throwing from the ground to Aviles for a force at second.
Mike also made a great play, making a difficult catch and staying on the bag before being upended by Jones. Aviles then had the presence of mind to jump to his feet to throw home where Heyward was trying to score. Zack reached up and cut off the ball. Did he think Mike was gunning it back to the mound because he was in a hurry for Zack to throw the next pitch?
Like I said: strange baseball.
Living in a Glaus house
Just to round things out, Troy Glaus ended the game with a home run on a 1-2 pitch. I heard some whining on the radio about the pitch being too fat (it was), but if you’re going to ask pitchers to be aggressive, they’re going to occasionally miss spots and get hit.
I seem to remember a lot of whining (mainly because I was doing it) about pitchers nibbling and falling behind in counts. The odds say throw strikes and make the other team beat you. The odds also say that once in awhile, they will. Changing to a more timid approach is not the answer.
I’ve already described two of them. In addition, Betancourt made another diving stop and Kendall got out quickly from behind the plate to get the lead runner on a bunt attempt. “Outstanding defensive plays” has been one of the harder categories to score in this system, probably because I’m such a bad defensive player. EVERY play looks outstanding to me.
I finally settled on any play where you might not expect to get an out. When the ball leaves the bat and you say, “uh-oh” and still get an out, something outstanding probably took place.
Good base running
Zack Greinke broke up a double play with a hard slide, and I’m sure everyone in the Royals organization hopes he never does it again.
Aviles went first to third on a ball that deflected off the Braves shortstop by continuing to run hard and not assuming that he’d have to stop at second. Mike got more base running points in the same inning when he was able to retreat to third as Greinke’s bunt was fielded too easily by the pitcher. The pitcher went home instead of running at Mike to force him into a rundown. The camera angle showed Aviles going back to the bag inside the baseline. This is good base running because it blocks the catcher’s throw to third. This means the catcher has to throw around the runner, making for a longer tag. Mike avoided it and everyone was safe.
Aviles then scored on Podsednik’s sac fly, and Betancourt did a nice job of reading Heyward’s position on the catch. (Heyward didn’t hustle to get behind the ball so he could make the catch coming forward.) Yuniesky tagged at second and made it to third, which allowed him to score on Kendall’s grounder.